A Taliban spokesman tells Channel 4 News that an attack on Nato’s base at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan which killed two US marines was aimed at Prince Harry, who is stationed there.
The attack, by heavily-armed insurgents, happened overnight at the highly fortified base in southern Afghanistan. A spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force coalition (Isaf) in Afghanistan said the assault occurred near an airfield on the north-east side of the base, which houses American forces in Camp Leatherneck.
The US said that two of its marines were killed and several more troops wounded after a man believed to be a member of the AFghan local police force turned his weapon on soldiers from Nato-led forces.
A number of aircraft and buildings at the base were hit by insurgent fire. There are no reports of any British fatalities, but a spokesman for the Helmand governor said 17 bodies had been discovered and they were all thought to be insurgents killed in the fighting.
Shortly afterwards, the Taliban claimed victory, saying that the attack was directed towards Prince Harry. Speaking to Channel 4 News, Qari Muhammad Yousaf, a Taliban spokesman, said: “When [Prince Harry] came again, our intelligence sources have passed on credible information to us about his possible locations and we launched attacks on the base, which has several sections.
“The US forces are present in one side, the British in another side, and one side is allocated for troops of other NATO countries.
“We knew that’s where Prince Harry lives. That is why we used different tactics. We used attackers in several groups and they carried out operations in their targeted sections.
“Clashes continued for two hours and it expanded further.”
The spokesman’s comments echoed earlier remarks made by the Taliban to Channel 4 News as Prince Harry was deployed to Afghanistan earlier this month.
Senior commanders said on the day of his deployment that they would use Afghan army recruits to either kidnap or assassinate him.
Today, the spokesman also said the assault on the biggest base of the Americans and British troops in southern Helmand province was also to take revenge for the anti-Islam film which has provoked unrest around the world.
The prince, whose 28th birthday is today, is safe.
Read more: US embassy attacks, the film behind the fury
Yousaf said that scores of heavily armed Taliban fighters used ‘high morale’ techniques entered the biggest base of the American and the British troops. He said that Taliban fighters also destroyed fighter jets and military helicopters at the base. He said the attack was part of the Al-Farooq series of operation launched by Taliban this year.
“The attack was started around 10 pm Friday and continued till Saturday morning,” the Taliban spokesman said. He said flames at the base could be seen from other areas and the people travelling on the main highway are watching the smoke and flames.
Another Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Channel 4 News that the attack was aimed at showing reaction to the anti-Islam film.