KABUL — Britain’s Prince Harry, who compared shooting insurgents in Afghanistan to playing video games, has probably developed a mental problem, the Taliban said Tuesday.
"There are 49 countries with their powerful military failing in the fight against the mujahideen, and now this prince comes and compares this war with his games, PlayStation or whatever he calls it," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told AFP.
Harry, third in line to the throne, said he had killed Taliban insurgents during a 20-week posting flying scores of missions over the restive southern province of Helmand in an Apache attack helicopter.
As co-pilot, Harry was in charge of the weapons systems in a two-man cockpit, firing Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, rockets and a 30-millimetre gun. He described the weapons systems as a joy.
"It’s a joy for me because I’m one of those people who loves playing PlayStation and Xbox, so with my thumbs I like to think I’m probably quite useful," he said in interviews released Monday after the end of his posting.
"This is a serious war, a historic war, resistance for us, for our people," Mujahid told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.
"But we don’t take his comments very seriously, as we have all seen and heard that many foreign soldiers, occupiers who come to Afghanistan, develop some kind of mental problems on their way out."
Asked by Britain’s Press Association if he had killed from the cockpit, Harry said: “Yeah, so lots of people have.
"Take a life to save a life," he shrugged. "If there’s people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we’ll take them out of the game."
The last time the Taliban suggested a foreign fighter had mental problems was when an American soldier was arrested on suspicion of killing 16 villagers in their homes during a lone night rampage in March 2012.
Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is on trial in the US, facing 16 murder charges. Seventeen of the 22 people killed or wounded were women or children and almost all were shot in the head.
The Taliban have been waging an insurgency in Afghanistan for 11 years since being ousted from power for harbouring al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
During the war, they have faced more than 140,000 troops from over 50 countries but remain a serious threat to the Western-backed government with NATO troops due to withdraw in 2014.
"We have always wanted to capture or kill this prince, but he was mostly kept inside, safe, and in guarded places underground," said the Taliban spokesman, Mujahid.
"At one point when our mujahideen attacked the airport, we were aware of his presence there but he was hastily flown away."