LONDON: Prince Harry has hit back at media “spin” surrounding his memoir released this week, saying he is particularly upset by the “dangerous lie” that he had boasted about killing 25 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan while serving as a military helicopter pilot.
He was criticized for describing those he killed in his book “Spare” as “chess pieces,” with some military figures saying it was wrong to refer to the dead in such a manner.
In the book, he recounts two tours of Afghanistan, his first in 2007/2008 as a forward air controller, and again in 2012 as a co-pilot gunner in Apache attack helicopters.
British newspapers, which he heavily criticizes in his book, and some senior former British military figures have attacked his decision to make public the number of those he had killed, saying it could put him and others at risk of reprisals.
Speaking to US chat show host Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show,” Prince Harry said he had only spoken out about his experiences in Afghanistan to reduce the number of potential suicides by military veterans.
“Without doubt the most dangerous lie that they have told, is that I somehow boasted about the number of people that I killed in Afghanistan,” he said, adding that the press had spun his words to take his disclosure out of context.
“I made a choice to share it because having spent nearly two decades working with veterans all around the world, I think the most important thing is to be honest and be able to give space to others to be able to share their experiences without any shame.”
On Tuesday, the publisher of his book said it had become the UK’s fastest-selling non-fiction book ever.
* With Reuters