Prince Harry lands in Afghanistan ready to battle Taliban

Prince Harry is shown the Apache helicopter flight line by an unidentified member of his squadron at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan on Friday. (John Stillwell/Reuters)

Prince HarryPrince Harry has taken another out-of-country trip, but the parties will be few and it sure isn't Vegas.

The 27-year-old royal is in Afghanistan, beginning a four-month deployment with the British forces battling the Taliban.

The Army captain arrived at Camp Bastion in the wee hours of Friday and spent his first few hours inspecting the Apache attack helicopter that he'll be co-piloting while posted with the 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps.

Unlike his last deployment into the war zone, in 2008, there was no attempt to keep Harry's mission a secret after the Ministry of Defence decided his presence would not put him or his squadron at any more risk than they already deal with. It has even allowed a reporter and photographer on the base to provide coverage (video below).

In a series of photos, Harry is seen checking over the cockpit and weapons of one of the helicopters and gives a thumbs-up.

"He's approached the deployment with a range of emotions like any other soldier and feels both pride and anticipation as he deploys for a job he's trained for, for so long," said a St. James's Palace spokesman.

The Palace also said his father, Prince Charles, was "immensely proud of his son" and had said his goodbyes when Harry was at Birkhall last weekend. Harry had a final visit with his brother William when the two were in London earlier this week.

CockpitHarry qualified as an Apache co-pilot gunner in February after several months of 'top gun' type training in the U.S.

The prince will have 10 days to get used to the routine at Camp Bastion before officially getting on with the job of hunting down Taliban and providing troop support. The unit he's assigned to has the largest "kill rate" in Afghanistan, according to the Telegraph, averaging two dead Taliban a week. No UK Apache helicopters have been lost in the campaign yet.

"Killing insurgents is what the machine Prince Harry flies is there for. You cannot put it any other way," one source told the paper.

Camp Bastion, in Helmand province, is the largest military base in Afghanistan and the central support for UK troops.

Harry's commanding officer, Capt. Jock Gordon, extended an official welcome to Prince Harry. "He will be in a difficult and demanding job," Gordon said in a statement, "and I ask that he be left to get on with his duties and allowed to focus on delivering support to the coalition troops on the ground."

Harry's sudden appearance in Afghanistan has also put a new spin on his naked romp in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. The Daily Mail website splashed his return to the war zone with the headline "From Las Vegas to Camp Bastion: Prince Harry retuns to duty in Afghanistan to fly attack helicopters in war with the Taliban (so perhaps we shouldn't blame him for enjoying the odd pool party)."

Photos of the unclothed Prince in his suite produced an internet storm, especially in Britain where the media felt handcuffed by privacy laws. The Sun tabloid finally printed the pictures, leading to about 3,800 complaints to the Press Complaints Commission, though none from the Palace. On Thursday, the PCC said it would be "inappropriate" to open in investigation at this time without involvement from Prince Harry's representatives.

In any case, Harry's party time will be dramatically curtailed while on this mission. He celebrates his 28th birthday on Sept. 15, but it'll probably be a dry one, since the camp is an alcohol-free zone.

Prince Harry is shown the Apache helicopter weapons at Camp Bastion. Prince Harry will be based at Camp Bastion during his tour of duty as a co-pilot gunner, returning to Afghanistan to fly attack helicopters in the fight against the Taliban. (AP Photo/John Stillwell)













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Meanwhile, in Canada, Prince Justin Trudeau grows his mane on the taxpayers dime and Prince Mike Layton also enjoys all the comforts of dining from the public trough, while Prince Ben Mulroney enjoys being a TV show host ... quite the contrast, if I do say so myself ...

I expect he'll keep his clothes on there!

sure, anyone can fight the taliban in an apache, its not much different than playing a flight simulator now days...put a gun in his hands and tell him to fight them on the ground...then we'll see how eager he is to 'fight the enemy'

There to fight Taliban. What low military propaganda. How low is the War on Terror going to go? HArry had more integrity in Los Vegas with his clothes off than he does promoting an illegal and immoral war in military gear. The Royals are shameless war supporters. I don't envy HArry one bit having to play the royal military game that is the lowest game human beings can play. There is no dignity in being a royal or a soldier killing for greed and titles.

If you believe this is nothing more than a photo-op then welcome to show biz. If you think the royal family, british government, british intelligence would let this guy anywhere near a battle zone (no matter what they print) welcome to show biz. It's all show biz folks. He's no closer to any war zones than you or I (although with Harper's stance on Iran that may change for us).

some of the comments are so out of order it makes me sick. The man is in a war zone doing his bit - some of the armchair critics should examine what they have done that goes beyond breaking a nail while they pop a can. It is really easy to critique from the safety of a Canadian porch,

thats all famous people do......... try to get popular no matter what!!!

What does the TriForce logo on his sleeve mean? I have a Black Sabbath shirt with a jet fighter helmet on it and that logo is on the forehead.

If the duchess of Cambridge did not realize, so far, that the journalists and the photographers will be seeking risky photos of her ,she is either naive or savy in the art of looking for publicity.
If one does not want to be seen naked, one does not expose oneself to such risk.

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