KABUL, Afghanistan -- Two U.S. Marines were killed when Taliban insurgents attacked the NATO base in southern Afghanistan where Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, is deployed, military officials said Saturday. The prince was not in any danger during the strike, they said.
A well-armed squad of attackers hit the installation's airfield with “indirect fire” and small-arms fire at about 10 p.m. Friday, damaging some aircraft and buildings, said a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF. Initial reports indicated that about 16 insurgents were killed.
The Western military said in a statement that two NATO service members died, without disclosing their nationalities, but U.S. military officials identified them as U.S. Marines.
The airfield that came under fire is adjacent to the United States' Camp Leatherneck and Britain's Camp Bastion in Helmand province.
Prince Harry, known in the military as Capt. Harry Wales, arrived a week ago on a four-month deployment to pilot Apache helicopters. The Taliban movement immediately vowed to do its best to try to kill or capture him.
The British government made the somewhat controversial decision to announce Prince Harry’s arrival in Afghanistan, after a previous deployment was cut short when word of his presence was leaked by an Australian media outfit. Previously, he was serving with a ground unit in the field that was considered more vulnerable to attack; this time he is based at Bastion, a large and well-fortified installation.
-- Laura King
Photo: Britain's Prince Harry examines the cockpit of an Apache attack helicopter with an unidentified member of his squadron, at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, on Sept. 7, 2012. Credit: John Stillwell / Associated Press