Prince Harry to return to Afghan combat duty

June 16th, 2011 - 4:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban London, June 16 (IANS) Britain’s Prince Harry would soon return to combat duty in Afghanistan as he has been cleared as an Apache helicopter pilot, the Sky News reported.

The 26-year-old prince - now a British Army captain - spent 10 weeks in Afghanistan’s Helmand province in 2008. But his deployment was cut short. It is now understood he is keen to return to the country.

A royal family spokesman said Harry’s deployment would be a matter for the army decide on when his final training comes to an end in 2012.

“Harry is an army pilot and will deploy wherever the army chooses to send him. His course finishes in 2012 and after that his deployment will be a matter for the army chain of command,” he said.

A ministry of defence spokesman did not confirm or deny the report. “We cannot comment on the deployment of individual service personnel.”

But reports say top defence officials and the queen have given permission for Harry to return to Afghanistan.

In 2008, the prince directed fighter jets to drop bombs on Taliban positions in Helmand.

But his deployment ended abruptly when websites broke a media ban and reported details of his presence.

Asked what his aim would be after qualifying as an Apache pilot, the prince said: “My goal is to serve my country like everybody else in the British forces. I count myself very, very lucky to have the chance to fly helicopters and even luckier to have the chance to fly the Apache. It’s a fantastic piece of kit, it’s like flying a robot.”

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