Britain silent on prince's possible return to frontline

16th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Thursday refused to confirm press reports that Prince Harry had been given the green light to return to action in Afghanistan.

The Sun and The Mirror tabloids reported Thursday that the 26-year-old Apache helicopter pilot had been cleared for redeployment to the country in which he served as a forward air controller for 10 weeks in 2007-2008.

The MoD would not comment "on the deployment of individual service personnel" and the prince's office also refused to confirm the report.

"Harry is an army pilot and will deploy wherever the army chooses to send him," a spokesman for the prince said.

Harry's first tour of duty in Afghanistan, in which he directed jets bombing Taliban fighters, was cut short when foreign websites broke a media ban on the reporting of the prince's involvement.

The third-in-line to the British throne made it clear he wanted to return as soon as possible.

The Sun claimed defence bosses and the queen had given their assent for Harry's return to frontline action. A final decision, which will remain secret, is expected early next year.

Harry completed the first stage of training to fly the Apache in April and was promoted to captain. At the time, the prince said it would be pointless for him to train as a pilot if the army did not intend to deploy him.

He has completed five years in the army, which entitles him to the title of Captain Harry Wales.

© 2011 AFP

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