Prince Harry Withdrawn From Afghanistan

Prince Harry is to be withdrawn from Afghanistan immediately, after news of his deployment there was leaked.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Defence on Friday said: "The decision by elements of the foreign media to report Prince Harry's presence in Afghanistan without any consultation with the Ministry of Defence is regrettable. However, this was a circumstance that we have always been aware of and one for which we have had contigency plans in place. Whilst it had been intended that Prince Harry should return in a matter of weeks with the remainder of the Household Cavalry Regiment Battlegroup, the situation has now clearly changed.

"This decision has been taken primarily on the basis that the worldwide media coverage of Prince Harry in Afghanistan could impact on the security of those who are deployed there, as well as the risks to him as an individual soldier."

The 23-year-old prince, who serves with the Household Cavalry, had been fighting in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan for the past 10 weeks. He was based in a former madrassa (a school) along with a Gurkha regiment.

His deployment was subject to a voluntary media blackout agreed across the UK, after Harry's planned deployment to Iraq last year had to be cancelled because publicity about the trip triggered a security risk.

However, the news was leaked by a US website, the Drudge Report. It is understood that they picked up the story from an Australian online magazine.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown paid tribute to Prince Harry, calling him an "exemplary" soldier, but said that the decision to withdraw him from Afghanistan was correct, because of security considerations.

Conservative leader David Cameron also agreed that the decision was correct, but said that Britain should be proud of the prince and described him as "incredibly brave".

Liberal Democrat's defence spokesperson Nick Harvey said: "Prince Harry and all the men and women serving in our armed forces should be applauded for their courage.

"Sound judgement is needed to ensure his safety and that of those around him."


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

24 August 2012
The Sun Publishes Naked Prince Harry Photos
The Sun has become the first British newspaper to publish pictures of a naked Prince Harry in Las Vegas. No other UK newspaper has published the images taken in his hotel suite which shows the the prince naked cavorting with a blond woman. In an editorial The Sun claimed there was a "clear public interest" in publishing the photographs.
14 February 2011
Prince Harry Best Man In Royal Wedding
Prince Harry has been announced as best man at Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding. The couple will marry at Westminster Abbey on Friday, 29 April. Kate's sister Philippa will be maid of honour. Prince William's two godchildren will also take part in the ceremony along with their four bridesmaids.
12 April 2006
Prince Harry graduates from Sandhurst
Prince Harry has graduated as an officer in the British Army from Sandhurst Academy. The 21-year-old completed his passing out ceremony in front of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince William.
12 January 2009
PM Slams Prince Over 'Paki' Comment
Gordon Brown has branded Prince Harry's use of the word 'Paki' as 'unacceptable'. The young royal made the comment on a homemade video, recorded three years ago. Footage only came to light in a newspaper report at the weekend, creating a media storm around the third-in-line to the British throne.
17 May 2007
Prince Harry's army role under consideration
Prince Harry's future role in the army is now under consideration following the decision not to send him to serve in Iraq. There have been fears that the 22-year-old Prince's credibility in the forces would be damaged, as he would be just about the only active soldier who had not served in either Iraq or Afghanistan.