Prince Harry has 'mental' problems, Taliban says
Prince Harry didn't gain any fans among the Taliban for the revealing reports of his just-finished four-month stint as an Apache helicopter co-pilot gunner.
With catch-phrases like "take a life to save a life" and crediting his Xbox with helping his trigger finger, Harry has predictably drawn the scorn of the enemy, who is suggesting he has developed "mental problems."
"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," said Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid in an interview with AFP.
In the wide-ranging interviews the royal gave media before Christmas -- in exchange for not releasing anything until his return to Britain -- Harry talked about his duty to protect the ground troops as he showed off some of the weaponry in the Apache.
"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. As for using the guns and rockets, the logic was quite simple: "If there's people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we'll take them out of the game."
Mujahid was quick to dismiss both Harry (a "coward") and his remarks.
"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," he said.
The Taliban made no secret of their desire to do harm to Prince Harry while he was in Afghanistan, and there were attacks on his home base, Camp Bastion.
"We have always wanted to capture or kill this prince, but he was mostly kept inside, safe, and in guarded places underground," said Mujahid. "At one point when our mujahideen attacked the airport, we were aware of his presence there but he was hastily flown away."
NATO troops have a been a constant presence in Afghanistan for more than a decade, but are due to pull out sometime in 2014.
ARTIST DEFENDS HIS KATE PORTRAIT
The trouble with being an artist is that everyone else is a critic.
Paul Emsley found out just how many -- and how harsh they can be -- a few weeks ago when he unveiled the official portrait of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. The reviews were largely devastating -- from "rotten" to accusation it turned Kate into an "elderly spinster."
"Some of the words written about it were so personal," he told Hello! magazine. "I'd be inhuman if I
said it didn't affect me. When you take on
commissions like this it is hazardous and you expect a bit of flak, but I
expected nothing like the criticism I have received. I didn't expect it
to go to the levels it did.
"It felt like a bit of a witch hunt and people who have not even seen my portrait joined in with what quickly became a circus. The worst thing is it was not only destructive to me, but particularly upsetting for my two daughters and my wife."
Emsley has tried to put it all behind him by heading back to his studio and "getting on with it."
"At first the attacks were so vicious that there was a point where I
myself doubted that the portrait of the Duchess was any good. But now
I've had time to reflect, I am still happy with it."
As for the critics, he suggests that their opinion may have been formed by something of an optical illusion. "I believe half the problem is the portrait doesn't photograph well and I would encourage people to go and see it (at the National Portrait Gallery)."
PRINCE CHARLES POPS IN FOR A PINT
It was just another Monday royal engagement, with Prince Charles presiding over the opening of the Florence Institute, a community centre in Liverpool.
Appropriate words said and handshakes all around, the next monarch started to climb back into his car when a voice called out across the street: "Charlie, come over here for a pint."
How could he resist?
While Charles is more of a wine guy, he didn't hesitate to ask Jones for a half of Guinness, which he shared with Denise Bernard, chairman of the Florence Institute.
"Oh my God, Prince Charles is going to be bevied because of me," said Bernard. "This is the most exciting day of my of my life since having my baby."
Barmaid Jones, along with the rest of the pub regulars, were equally entranced by the presence of the prince.
"This is the first time I’ve served royalty and it’s the first time they’ve been in this pub," said Jones.
No word on who picked up the tab.