BRITISH special forces are guarding the newly-married Duke and Duchess of Sussex with sub-machine guns amid fears the royal couple could be targeted by the Taliban.
The threat is believed to be directly linked to comments former soldier Prince Harry made when he was a helicopter pilot. In 2013 he boasted of blowing “Taliban extremists to pieces” and confirmed he killed Taliban fighters.
Asked whether he had killed on duty the Prince said: “Yeah, so lots of people have. The squadron’s been out here. Everyone’s fired a certain amount.”
He went on to say why it was necessary. “Take a life to save a life, that’s what we revolve around, I suppose. If there’s people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we’ll take them out of the game, I suppose.”
The comments caused a stir in British security and diplomatic circles at the time because of fears they could inflame the already tense situation in Afghanistan.
But they are now also coming back to haunt him, according to a report in the Sun on Sunday.
While the couple are already well protected at their normal home at Kensington Palace, their countryside home has been transformed into a fortress with the same level of anti-terrorist security provided at Buckingham Palace and that protects UK Prime Minister Theresa May and spy bases.
Motion sensors and cameras are said to have been strategically placed on the property in a bid to catch any intruders.
It has also been included on a list of properties where members of the public risk being jailed for six months if they are found trespassing.
Villagers near the country pad in Cotswolds, in south central England, have reportedly been stopped and questioned by heavily-armed, specially trained officers. They are believed to patrol the estate on foot and in unmarked 4WDs.
When Prince Harry first made the comments in 2013 they were met with the expected anger by the Taliban, who suggested he had a “mental problem” by comparing his role as a fighter pilot to a video game.
In a Press Association interview, he said his job as co-pilot gunner was “a joy…because I’m one of those people who loves playing PlayStation and Xbox, so with my thumbs I like to think that I’m probably quite useful”.
It was clear from the candid comments the importance he placed on military service. “I am the Queen’s grandson and all that good stuff and I love representing her, but to be honest with you and as far as I see it, and as far as William sees it as well, our service towards our country in the military in whichever shape or form it takes will always come first.”
A Taliban spokesman later told The Guardian: “I think he has a mental problem, that’s why he is saying it is a game,” he said. “These kind of people live like diplomats in Afghanistan, they can’t risk themselves by standing against the mujahideen [holy warriors].”
The spokesman added: “He doesn’t have the brain to know there is a war here” and accused him of lying about being involved in fighting.
Before his marriage to Meghan Markle earlier this month there had been fears the couple’s decision to ride in an open carriage procession around Windsor could provide an opportunity for anyone wanting to disrupt the wedding.
They were protected by snipers who were on shoot-to-kill orders – were part of a £30 million security operation which became one of the most heavily-guarded events in history.
Police had mapped the area, established risk profiles, and worked out the modus operandi of high-risk groups as part of their planning.
A Kensington Palace spokesman told news.com.au they never comment about the security surrounding royal family members.
Originally published as Words Harry may live to regret