Britain’s Prince Harry is back in Afghanistan to serve as a military helicopter pilot four years after his previous deployment there had to be cut short, the Ministry of Defence said on Friday.
The 27-year-old, who hit the headlines last month after he was photographed nude during a wild week of partying in Las Vegas, will spend four months based at Camp Bastion in the restive Helmand province of southern Afghanistan.
“Prince Harry, known as Captain Wales in the military, arrived today at Camp Bastion, Helmand Province, to start an operational tour as an Apache pilot,” the MoD said in a statement.
The MoD said Harry’s squadron “will provide surveillance, deterrence and, when required, close combat attack capabilities as well as escort duties for other aircraft”.
The prince, the third in line to the throne, has made no secret of his desire to return to Afghanistan and serve his country.
In 2008, he had to be hastily withdrawn from Afghanistan when a news blackout surrounding his deployment was broken.
On that occasion, he was based on the ground directing aircraft in attacks on Taliban positions, and so arguably was more vulnerable.
Military chiefs feared that his security and that of his fellow troops had been compromised by the blackout being breached.
They have taken a different approach to the prince’s new deployment however, releasing photographs and video of him in Afghanistan from the start.
The Ministry of Defence said his second tour of duty “has been long planned and the threat to him and others around him thoroughly assessed.”