Hamid Karzai defends Prince Harry over Afghanistan remarks

Afghanistan’s president refuses to criticise Harry for comparing war to PlayStation and Xbox games

LAST UPDATED AT 14:51 ON Mon 4 Feb 2013

AFGHANISTAN’S President Hamid Karzai has defended Prince Harry after he compared his job as a co-pilot gunner to playing video games and described killing the Taliban as a case of “take a life to save a life”.

The prince’s remarks were criticised by commentators as insensitive, with one former royal protection officer claiming they could even make him a target, but Karzai told the Guardian and ITV news that Prince Harry, 28, was a “young man"and expected to “make mistakes”.

The Guardian suggests the President’s friendship with Prince Charles, who Karzai described as a “great representative"of Britain, may have something to do with his refusal to condemn the young royal when asked if he thought he had spoken “unwisely”.

Karzai, who is in the UK for diplomatic talks with David Cameron and Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari, said: "Prince Charles, the father of Prince Harry, is a very fine gentleman, a man for whom I have tremendous respect. Even when I was a student in Shimla, I used to read about his dislike of modern architecture and the cement buildings and I entirely agreed with him.”

In the interview Harry gave at Camp Bastion last month, where he was based during his recent 20-week tour of Afghanistan, the prince said he had fired upon and killed Taliban fighters from his Apache helicopter.

"If there's people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we'll take them out of the game," he said, adding his job was a “joy"as “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.”

The prince's words drew a direct response from the Taliban whose spokesman described Harry as a “coward”. He said: "We have always wanted to capture or kill this prince, but he was mostly kept inside, safe, and in guarded places underground.” · 

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