LONDON, (Reuters) – Prince Harry has been serving with the British army in Afghanistan for 2-1/2 months, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday.
Following leaks in the international media about his deployment, officials are now reviewing whether he should remain there. Harry, third in line to the British throne, was sent to Afghanistan with his regiment in December.
The 23-year-old was due to be sent to Iraq but those plans were scrapped in May. His deployment was cancelled after it was decided it would be too dangerous for the second son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana.
Militant groups threatened to kidnap or kill him after it was made known that his regiment could be deployed to Iraq.
The Ministry of Defence determined he could be deployed to Afghanistan if his presence there was not reported. For the past 10 weeks, British and international media have maintained an embargo on reporting his activities.
Harry has been responsible for calling in air strikes against Taliban positions in the dangerous southern Afghanistan province of Helmand, has conducted foot patrols through local villages and has fired on suspected enemy combatants, pool photographs and footage have shown.
The head of the army, General Richard Dannatt, issued a statement expressing his disappointment that the embargo had been broken by foreign media Web sites, including some in the United States and Germany.
“In deciding to deploy him to Afghanistan, it was my judgment that with an understanding with the media not to broadcast his whereabouts, the risk in doing (so) was manageable,” Dannatt said. “Now that the story is in the public domain, the chief of staff and I will take advice from the operational commanders about whether his deployment can continue. “I now appeal to the media to restrain from attempting to report Prince Harry’s every move and return to our understanding.”