The Taliban Monday threatened to kidnap or kill British royal family member Prince Harry, who will begin to serve his new deployment in Afghanistan as an Apache attack helicopter pilot, four years after his first term was cut short because of untoward publicity.
"We are using all our strength to get rid of him, either by killing or kidnapping," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters over phone. "We have informed our commanders in Helmand to do whatever they can to eliminate him."
"We have informed our commanders in Helmand to do whatever they can to eliminate him," said Mujahid, as quoted by Reuters.
Queen Elizabeth's grandson and third-in-line to the British throne, Harry arrived in Afghanistan Friday morning on a four-month deployment and is based in Camp Bastion in the volatile Helmand province as part of the foreign coalition troops fighting Afghan insurgency.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen dismissed the threat against Harry, known in the military as Captain Wales, saying the troops were well-protected regardless of their personal background.
"That's not a matter of concern," Rasmussen was quoted as saying by Reuters at a news conference in Brussels Monday. "I mean, we do everything we can to protect all our troops deployed to Afghanistan whatever might be their personal background."
The Taliban had earlier said that the 27-year-old Prince's deployment to Afghanistan was nothing but a propaganda stunt to divert attention from the recent scandal that ensued after his naked photographs were published by U.S. gossip sites.
Mujahid was quoted as saying by the Telegraph that Harry's arrival was "symbolic" and that he would never leave his base in Camp Bastion.
"The British Army is under pressure, just like the other forces in Afghanistan, and Britain wants to encourage its soldiers with such actions," Mujahid told the Telegraph. "And also the Prince was seen in naked pictures in England. To cover this shame, maybe he can atone by showing that he is fighting beside their soldiers in Afghanistan."
The prince would undergo training this week in first aid, shooting and improvised explosive device awareness apart from his Apache-specific training and was not likely to be out in the war zone for another week, the Daily Beast reported.
Harry was in news recently after photographs of him engaging in a game of "strip billiards" during a private holiday in Las Vegas were leaked and published online.
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