Afghan Taliban threaten to kidnap and kill Prince Harry

KABUL (Reuters) - The Afghan Taliban said on Monday they were doing everything in their power to try to kidnap or kill Britain’s Prince Harry, who arrived in Afghanistan last week to fly attack helicopters.

Britain's Prince Harry climbs up to examine the cockpit of an Apache helicopter at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan September 7, 2012. The prince is serving a four-month tour, based out of Camp Bastion in Helmand Province - one of the most volatile regions in the country where Britain has been fighting alongside the United States against the local Taliban since 2001. Photograph taken September 7, 2012. REUTERS/John Stillwell/pool

Queen Elizabeth’s grandson is in Afghanistan on a four-month tour, based in Camp Bastion in the volatile Helmand province, where he will be on the front line in the NATO-led war against Taliban insurgents.

“We are using all our strength to get rid of him, either by killing or kidnapping,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, told Reuters by phone from an undisclosed location.

“We have informed our commanders in Helmand to do whatever they can to eliminate him,” Mujahid added, declining to go into detail on what he called the “Harry operations”.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he was not worried about the Taliban threat against Prince Harry.

“That’s not a matter of concern,” Rasmussen told a news conference in Brussels on Monday. “I mean, we do everything we can to protect all our troops deployed to Afghanistan whatever might be their personal background.”

Britain’s Ministry of Defense declined to comment on Mujahid’s statement. British authorities have given few details of Prince Harry’s stint in Afghanistan for security reasons.

The 27-year-old prince, who is third in line to the throne, took up his new role two weeks after being photographed frolicking naked in Las Vegas.

Known in the military as Captain Wales, he first served in Afghanistan in 2008 as an on-the-ground air controller, but his tour was cut short when a news blackout designed to protect him while he was on the front line collapsed.

(This story is corrected with Rasmussen quote in paragraph 6)

Reporting by Hamid Shalizi in Kabul, Mohammed Abbas in London and Adrian Croft in Brussels; Writing by Amie Ferris-Rotman/Maria Golovnina; Editing by Andrew Osborn and Sebastian Moffett