I have killed: Prince Harry reveals he's 'taken a life to save a life'
on the Afghan front line as he flies home from second tour of duty
|Prince Harry flew out of Afghanistan tonight and admitted he had killed for the first time. Thoughtful but unrepentant, he said soldiers sometimes had to 'take a life to save a life'. In an interview to mark the end of his four-month tour of duty as an Apache attack helicopter pilot, the third in line to the throne confirmed he had been directly responsible for the deaths of one or more insurgents as a co-pilot gunner. |
I have killed: Prince Harry reveals he's 'taken a life to save a life' on the Afghan front line as he flies home from second tour of duty
Prince William envies his younger brother flying helicopters on the frontline while Prince Harry envies William his satisfying job and cosy family set-up, the younger Prince revealed today.
In an honest interview conducted before the 28-year-old Prince Harry flew back to Britain after a 20-week tour of Afghanistan, he shed light on his relationship with his brother.
And he revealed that Prince William is privately frustrated at not being able to serve on the frontline because of his future role.
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Prince William, left, works as a Search and Rescue pilot while Harry, right, is a co-pilot gunner in Helmand
Prince Harry, who has just finished his second deployment in Afghanistan, where he was a co-pilot gunner in Apache helicopters, said: 'I think there is a bit of jealousy, not just the fact that I get to fly this, but obviously he'd love to be out here.
'And to be honest with you, I don't see why he couldn't.
'His job out here would be flying the IRT [Immediate Response Team], or whatever, doing Chinook missions. Just the same as us - no-one knows who's in the cockpit.
'Yes you get shot at, but if the guys who are doing the same job as us are being shot at on the ground, I don't think there's anything wrong with us being shot at as well.
'People back home will have issues with that, but we're not special. The guys out there are, simple as that.'
William, 30, the future Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, is an RAF Flight Lieutenant and works as a Search and Rescue Force pilot on Sea King helicopters. Daring job: Harry's Apache helicopter work in the Afghan desert is envied by his older brother William. Based at RAF Valley on Anglesey in North Wales, he commands missions to help stranded climbers and stricken vessels in the area.
Prince Harry revealed there is envy on both sides. 'Before coming out here I was very jealous of my brother,' he said. 'It's operational flying back home. You get all the luxuries of operational flying - the pride, as you call it - and the reward of basically saving people's lives, which is exactly what we try and do as well. 'And back home he gets to go home to his wife and dog, whereas out here we don't. We're stuck playing PlayStation in a tent full of men.'While Harry flies an Apache helicopter, his older brother flies a completely different Sea King helicopter. 'He could fly this. I'd like to think I could fly his,' he said. William's bedroom is probably nicer than this sleeping area that Prince Harry called home for 20 weeks
Captain Wales, as Harry is known in the army, added with a brotherly dig: ‘His job's very cool, and I think he's doing a wonderful job. Even though he's in the RAF.’ Harry is the latest in a long line of royals who have served in the Armed Forces, particularly flying helicopters. The Prince of Wales and Duke of York both trained as helicopter pilots, with Andrew taking part in missions in the Falklands War. But Harry revealed it is not just the family association with rotary aircraft that intrigued him and his brother. ‘Probably the fact that you can only fit a certain amount of people in a helicopter, therefore no one can follow us - like you guys,’ he joked with the press.
‘Our father flew, our uncle's flown, all sorts of people have flown in my family.
Top Gun: Prince Harry enjoyed his work escorting Chinook helicopters on daring missions in Helmand
‘And I wouldn't suggest that's where it's come from, but it is great fun, and I was given the opportunity in the end, and I couldn't say no to it.’
In the interview Prince Harry, who is '100 per cent single', also spoke of his happiness about becoming an uncle this summer.
'Obviously I'm thrilled for both of them,' he said in Helmand shortly after news of the Duchess of Cambridge's pregnancy came out.
'It's about time,' he joked. 'I can't wait to be an uncle.'
He said he had telephoned the future parents to congratulate them, adding: 'Of course I have - I had a chat to them.'
Asked if there was pressure on him to settle down, he said: 'I don't think you can ever be urged to settle down.
'If you find the right person and everything feels right, then it takes time, especially for myself and my brother.
'You ain't ever going to find someone who's going to jump into the position that it would hold, simple as that.'
Prince Harry has said it is 'easy to forget' who he is in the Army in a candid interview ahead of his return to the UK. There is only one rule as far as the soldier prince is concerned: Work hard, play hard. But in one of the most candid admissions of his interview, Harry remarks that a concerned Prince Charles frequently attempts to remind him of what is required of the third in line to the throne. Harry confesses he ‘let himself and his family down’ after being photographed cavorting naked in Las Vegas last year, but, unsurprisingly given his comments, is largely unrepentant. The 28-year-old royal concedes he should have acted in a more ‘princely’ manner but says the media should never have published ‘private’ photos of him playing strip billiards with a group of women he had met in his hotel bar. Like many headstrong young men, Harry says he shrugs off his father’s wise words of caution, even if he is heir to the throne. ‘My father’s always trying to remind me about who I am and stuff like that. But it’s very easy to forget about who I am when I am in the Army. Everyone’s wearing the same uniform and doing the same kind of thing,’ he says. ‘I have always said work hard, play hard. I will always be enjoying the job … however long it may carry on for, and then I have the other job to fall back on.’
He adds: ‘Certain people remind me, “Remember who you are, so don’t always drop your guard”. At the end of the day I probably let myself down [in Vegas], I let my family down, I let other people down.
‘But I was in a private area and there should be a certain amount of privacy that one should expect. Back at home all my close friends rallied around me and were great.
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Prince Harry on his controversial Las Vegas trip, left, and right, his father hard at work in Liverpool today. One of the boys: Prince Harry says everyone is the same in the army and he enjoys blending in
‘It was probably a classic case of me being too much Army and not enough prince. It’s a simple case of that.’
The leaked pictures were taken on a riotous boys-only pre-deployment holiday to Vegas last summer, weeks before he flew out to Afghanistan. They show a naked Harry cupping his genitals as he hugs an unnamed blonde, who is also nude. The pair had apparently been playing a game of strip billiards.
It is believed the photos, sold to a US entertainment website, were taken by one of the guests invited back to his £5,000-a-night suite in the Wynn Hotel.
Their publication provoked a debate over whether Harry violated his own privacy in showing such a lapse of judgment, and raised questions over the role of his taxpayer-funded Scotland Yard protection officers.
A rare glimpse of his day job: Prince Harry inspects his Apache helicopter before take-off from Camp Bastion
HRH Prince Harry inspects his Apache Helicopter before lift off on a night mission from Camp Bastion
Although the pictures were seen around the world, his solicitors threatened action against any UK newspaper that published them.
Only one, the Sun, chose to do so but St James’s Palace took no further action. Harry, however, says it is ‘unacceptable’ that anything was published, knowing that he was about to be deployed. ‘Yes people might look at it going, “Yes it was letting off steam, it’s all understandable now, he was going off to Afghanistan”. 'Well, the papers knew that I was going out to Afghanistan anyway, so the way I was treated by them I don’t think is acceptable.’ Harry openly admits that one of the reasons he likes his job as an Apache pilot so much is that it takes him away from the media interest. ‘My father always says, “Don’t read it, it’s rubbish” [but] I am surprised how many people in the UK do actually read it. Of course, if something is written about me I want to know what is said,’ he says.
‘I don’t believe there is such a thing as a private life any more ... I am not going to sit here and whinge [but] there’s the internet, there’s Twitter.
'Everyone’s phone has a camera on it now. You can’t move an inch without people judging you, that’s the way life goes.’
Asked how far his mistrust of the media goes back, Harry says sharply: ‘I think it’s fairly obvious how far back it goes. It’s when I was very small.’
But he adds: ‘But at least I have a job, many other people don’t.’
I'm not academic but I thrash the guys at Fifa: Harry's Camp Bastion downtime
Control pad demon: Prince Harry unwinds at Camp Bastion
Sitting exams at school was 'a nightmare' for Prince Harry, but like many of his age the third in line to the throne is a whiz at computer games on the PlayStation and Xbox.
Harry, who was educated at Ludgrove Prep School and Eton College, said he was 'absolutely useless' at written tests at school, but is making up for it now by beating his army colleagues at computer games.
He said: 'You can ask the guys: I thrash them at Fifa the whole time.'
In an interview conducted before he flew home to the UK from his deployment as an Apache helicopter co-pilot gunner (CPG), the 28-year-old revealed how he and his friends in 662 Squadron based in Camp Bastion played computer games and ate pizza when they had time off.
He also talked about his living conditions at the dusty army base, and revealed he was sent a jar of Clarence House honey made by bees at the Prince of Wales' official residence.
The young royal also said his father had sent him a box of Cuban cigars, some of which he traded with American soldiers in exchange for their treats from home.
Showing appealing modesty about his obvious skills as a pilot, the Prince said his skills at sports and games helped pave the way for him to become a top pilot.
He said: 'Exams were always a nightmare, but anything like kicking a ball around or playing PlayStation - or flying - I do generally find a little bit easier than walking, sometimes.
'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 that I'm probably quite useful.'
The Prince said taking the controls in the helicopter came naturally to him, and he qualified top of his class as a CPG despite finding the academic side tricky.
Prince Harry flew out of Afghanistan tonight and admitted he had killed for the first time. Thoughtful but unrepentant, he said soldiers sometimes had to ‘take a life to save a life’. In an interview to mark the end of his four-month tour of duty as an Apache attack helicopter pilot, the third in line to the throne confirmed he had been directly responsible for the deaths of one or more insurgents as a co-pilot gunner.
Ready for action: Captain Wales carries an SA80 Carbine, modified for use in a cramped cockpit
'Everyone's fired a certain amount': Captain Wales, as he is known in Helmand, says he has had to kill from the cockpit of his Apache helicopter in Afghanistan
'It's a pretty complex job for everyone involved': Prince Harry says he mostly worked on escorting Chinooks on daring evacuation raids
Captain Wales as he is known in the British Army, races out from the VHR (very high readiness) tent to scramble his Apache with fellow Pilots, during his 12 hour shift at the British controlled flight-line in Camp Bastion southern Afghanistan
Prince Harry does a pre-flight check of his Apache Helicopter after starting his 12 hour VHR (very high readiness) shift at Camp Bastion. WHY IT'S SO HARD TO FIND MY PRINCESS. He is one of the world’s most eligible bachelors. But according to Harry, being a prince means he has a constant struggle to find love. In fact, the 28-year-old bemoans the fact that potential princesses are put off by his position, rather than attracted by it. ‘You ain’t ever going to find someone who’s going to jump into the position that it would hold. Simple as that,’ he says. Asked whether he was currently single, he responds: ‘I’m just out here doing my job. That’s all I can say at the moment.’ But he admits brother William, who married long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton in 2011, has suffered the same personal doubts. He says: ‘I don’t think you can ever be urged to settle down. If you find the right person and everything feels right, then it takes time. . . especially for myself and my brother.’ He is clearly delighted, however, at the thought of becoming an uncle, saying he ‘can’t wait’. William and Kate, he says, broke the news of her pregnancy to him in Afghanistan over the phone. ‘Obviously I’m thrilled for both of them – it’s about time! – and I can’t wait to be an uncle,’ he said. ‘I am very, very happy for them, but I only hope that she and him – but mainly Catherine – hopefully, that she gets the necessary protection to allow her as a mother-to-be to enjoy the privacy that comes with it.’For seven years, Harry was in an on-off relationship with Zimbabwean-born trainee lawyer, Chelsy Davy. Although the tempestuous couple, who split shortly after William and Kate’s wedding, adored each other, Chelsy hated the ‘straitjacket’ of royal life. Afterwards Harry briefly romanced underwear model Florence Brudenell-Bruce, but split with her to concentrate on the final phase of his Army Air Corps training. Shortly before being deployed, he began a romance with Cressida Bonas, 23, the daughter of Sixties It-girl Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon. Asked if he had killed from the cockpit of his £40million aircraft, the 28-year-old prince said matter-of-factly: ‘Yeah, so lots of people have. The squadron’s been out here. Everyone’s fired a certain amount.’ Harry discusses his military career, becoming an uncle – and the notorious photos of him gallivanting naked in Las Vegas shortly before his deployment. Tonight, as he began a few days of relaxation at a British base in Cyprus before returning to Britain, he admitted that while Prince Charles is ‘always trying to remind me about who I am’, he prefers to live by his own motto: ‘Work hard, play hard.’In the interview, Harry also:
His admission that he killed insurgents is likely to be seized on by the Taliban for propaganda purposes. But the prince is unapologetic, saying: ‘Take a life to save a life, that’s what we revolve around. If there’s people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we’ll take them out of the game. ‘I’m not here on a free pass...our job out here is to make sure the guys are safe on the ground and if that means shooting someone who is shooting them, then we will do it.’ A senior Army source said: ‘Harry is flying an attack helicopter and that’s one of the jobs the guys do: Attack. It would be unthinkable for a gunner to go on a deployment and not have several engagements with the enemy. Of course he has killed.’ Harry was deployed with 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, to Camp Bastion in Southern Helmand in September. His first tour of duty as a forward air commander on the ground was cut short in 2008 when news of his deployment leaked in the US. Ministry of Defence officials deemed his continued presence there a risk to his fellow soldiers. Desperate to return to the front line, he retrained as a helicopter pilot and was picked to fly the 200mph Apache, the pride of the military’s airborne fleet, with his finger on the trigger of an arsenal of weapons including rockets, missiles and a 30mm cannon. British media were given unprecedented access during his time in Afghanistan in return for not speculating about his deployment in advance or publishing information that could exacerbate potential danger.
It is when talking about his work as an Apache pilot that he is clearly at his most comfortable. Harry – Captain Wales in the Army – was sent on all manner of missions over Helmand, from supporting Allied troops fighting the Taliban at close quarters to accompanying British Chinook and US Black Hawk helicopters on casualty evacuation missions. He has been hailed by his colleagues and superiors for being ‘on top of his game’ during the tour. Harry was given no special treatment and worked, ate and slept in the same basic conditions as the other pilots. It is, in his own words, ‘as normal as it’s going to get. I’m one of the guys, I don’t get treated any differently’. He admits that his work is interspersed with periods of intense boredom while waiting for a call-out and he whiled away his time watching DVDs and playing computer games. He even allowed himself to be photographed wearing a silly Santa hat, complete with blond plaits, to make his colleagues breakfast at Christmas and turn on their festive lights. His father, he revealed, had sent him a food parcel containing a jar of Clarence House garden honey and a box of huge Cuban cigars.
VIDEO Prince Harry confirms he killed Taliban insurgents
Prince Harry appears to be sharing a joke with photographers as he gets into his Apache helicopter during early morning pre-flight checks
Prince Harry chats to reporters and a TV crew following the checks on his aircraft
During his deployment his colleagues and superiors hailed him for fitting into his unit well and being 'on top of his game' during the 'extremely busy' and dangerous tour
This previously unseen photograph shows Capt Wales flying off, left, in his Apache as protection for a Chinook helicopter, shown right, during a raid in the desert
Captain Wales watches the return from a mission of an Apache helicopter at the British-copntrolled flight-line in Camp Bastion
Prince Harry has spoken for the first time about how he killed enemy fighters from his Apache helicopter during his latest tour of Afghanistan
VIDEO Prince Harry talks about his brother's jealousy over active service
Captain Wales as he is known in the British Army, inspects his Apache Helicopter before lift off on a night mission from Camp Bastion southern Afghanistan
Prince Harry admitted he had 'killed from the cockpit' before adding that 'many had'
In a revealing series of interviews given to the Press at the end of Prince Harry's second tour of Afghanistan, he also said that his older brother was 'jealous' of his job flying helicopters in the desert
In his job as a co-pilot gunner (CPG), he flew on missions both planned and unplanned, often for hours on end over the barren desert, supporting the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), the Afghan National Army (ANA), and Afghan National Police
The Apache Helicopter co-piloted by Prince Harry or just plain Captain Wales as he is known in the British Army, before lift off on a night mission from Camp Bastion
PRINCE WILLIAM ENVIES HARRY'S LIFE ON THE FRONTLINE
Prince William has privately expressed his frustration at not being able to serve on the frontline. The future king, 30, is barred from serving in a warzone because it is considered ‘too dangerous’ given his future role and, says Harry, is hugely jealous of his own second tour in Afghanistan. Harry is equally dismissive of the convention and says he cannot see why his brother shouldn’t get the chance to serve his country. ‘Yes, you get shot at. But if the guys who are doing the same job as us are being shot at on the ground, I don't think there's anything wrong with us being shot at as well,’ he said. ‘People back home will have issues with that, but we're not special. The guys out there are; simple as that.’
Downtime: Prince Harry claims he beats most of his co-fighters at Fifa on the PlayStation. Here he is seen celebrating a goal in a match against Pilot Captain Simon Beattie (left)
While he admits he didn't perform well academically, Prince Harry said he was good at PlayStation and gave many people on his base a run for their money.
I thrash the guys at Fifa: Harry's Bastion downtime. Sitting exams at school was 'a nightmare' for Prince Harry, but like many of his age the third in line to the throne is a whiz at computer games on the PlayStation and Xbox. Harry, who was educated at Ludgrove Prep School and Eton College, said he was 'absolutely useless' at written tests at school, but is making up for it now by beating his army colleagues at computer games. He said: 'You can ask the guys: I thrash them at Fifa the whole time.' In an interview conducted before he flew home to the UK from his deployment as an Apache helicopter co-pilot gunner (CPG), the 28-year-old revealed how he and his friends in 662 Squadron based in Camp Bastion played computer games and ate pizza when they had time off. He also talked about his living conditions at the dusty army base, and revealed he was sent a jar of Clarence House honey made by bees at the Prince of Wales' official residence. The young royal also said his father had sent him a box of Cuban cigars, some of which he traded with American soldiers in exchange for their treats from home. Showing appealing modesty about his obvious skills as a pilot, the Prince said his skills at sports and games helped pave the way for him to become a top pilot. He said: 'Exams were always a nightmare, but anything like kicking a ball around or playing PlayStation - or flying - I do generally find a little bit easier than walking, sometimes. '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 that I'm probably quite useful.'
Captain Wales relaxes with Simon Beattie under a shelter protecting them from the intense Afghan sun
An Afghan National Army soldier assigned to the Mobile Strike Force Kandak fires an RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade launcher during a live-fire exercise supervised by the Marines with the Mobile Strike Force Advisor Team on Camp Shorabak, Helmand province, Afghanistan, on May 20, 2013. (USMC/Staff Sgt. Ezekiel R. Kitandwe)
A young Afghan man jumps from a diving board into a swimming pool on a hill overlooking Kabul, Afghanistan, on May 17, 2013. The swimming pool build by the Soviets more then 30 years ago has rarely been used caught instead in the middle of decades of war.(AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
Afghan air force 2nd Lt. Niloofar Rhmani walks the flight line at Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan, prior to her graduation from undergraduate pilot training, on May 13, 2013. Rhmani made history on May 14, when she became the first female to successfully complete undergraduate pilot training and earn the status of pilot in more than 30 years. She will continue her service as she joins the Kabul Air Wing as a Cessna 208 pilot. (USAF/Senior Airman Scott Saldukas) #
An Afghan family walks at the Hazrat-e Ali shrine in Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, on May 9, 2013. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #
Marine Sgt. Ross Gundlach, of Madison, Wisconsin, gets a kiss from Casey, a four-year-old yellow labrador that he worked with while deployed in Afghanistan, as the two are reunited during a surprise ceremony, on May 17, 2013, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. Gundlach thought he was traveling to the Iowa Capitol to tell state officials why he should take ownership of the dog, which has been working for the state fire marshal's office. Gundlach didn't realize officials already had made arrangements to get another dog for explosives detection. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) #
A U.S. soldier arrives on the scene where a suicide car bomber attacked a NATO convoy in Kabul, on May 16, 2013. A Muslim militant group, Hizb-e-Islami, claimed responsibility for the early morning attack, killing many in the explosion and wounding tens, police and hospital officials said. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
NATO soldiers with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) arrive at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul May 16, 2013.(Reuters/Mohammad Ismail) #
An Afghan woman harvests wheat on the outskirts of Kabul, on May 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Ahmad Jamshid) #
A trailer transports armored vehicles, used by NATO forces during the Afghan war, along a road after their arrival at Port Mohammad Bin Qasim, some 40 km (25 miles) from Karachi, on May 25, 2013. After more than ten year NATO and U.S. have started withdrawal of their equipments from Afghanistan, local media reported. (Reuters/Athar Hussain) #
Corpsmen with Combat Logistics Regiment 2, II Marine Logistics Group provide medical care to an Afghan Uniformed Police officer at Combat Outpost Musa Qa'la, on May 18, 2013. The AUP were patrolling through Musa Qa'la District when a roadside IED detonated. The police officer sustained minor injuries to his head and face, caused by shrapnel from the explosion. (USMC/Sgt. Bobby J. Yarbrough) #
Sophia Phillips plugs her ears as the firing party fires three rifle volleys for her father, US Army Staff Sergeant Francis G. Phillips IV, as members of the US Army honor guard perform a full military honors burial service at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 20, 2013. Phillips, from Meridian, New York was killed in combat in the Maiwand district of Afghanistan when the vehicle he was riding in was struck by an improvised explosive device. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images) #
A Mobile Strike Force Vehicle assigned to the Afghan National Army Mobile Strike Force Kandak, navigates through a series of obstacles at a rough terrain driving course on Camp Bastion, Helmand province, on May 13, 2013. (USMC/ Staff Sgt. Ezekiel R. Kitandwe) #
Newly graduated Afghan National Army soldiers attend their graduation ceremony at the Kabul Military Training Center in Kabul, on May 23, 2013. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #
Zardana, 11, talks in Kandahar, Afghanistan on April 22, 2013 about a pre-dawn incident on March 11, 2012, when she says a U.S. soldier burst into her family's home. Zardana said her visiting cousin saw the soldier chasing them and ran to help, but he was shot and killed. "We couldn't stop. We just wanted somewhere to hide. I was holding on to my grandmother and we ran to our neighbors." Family members explained that Zardana was also shot in the head. She spent about two months recovering at the Kandahar Air Base hospital and three more at a naval hospital in San Diego receiving rehabilitation therapy, accompanied by her father, Samiullah. U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales of Lake Tapps, Washington, is accused of the killings. Bales is due to give the specific details of the massacre in open court this week, as he pleads guilty to avoid the death penalty. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
A team of wrecker operators with Combat Logistics Battalion 6, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, hook a seven-ton truck chassis during vehicle recovery training at Twentynine Palms, California, May 25, 2013. The Marines pulled the chassis from a sandy ravine as part of a training exercise meant to prepare them for possible scenarios they may encounter during their upcoming deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (USMC/Cpl. Paul Peterson) #
An arrested Taliban fighter is displayed to the media in Panjwai district of Kandahar province, on May 28, 2013.(Jangir/AFP/Getty Images) #
U.S. Army Sgt. Leroy Petry, who lost his right hand in 2008 while serving in Afghanistan, holds a baseball prior to delivering it to the mound for a Memorial Day baseball game between the San Diego Padres and the Seattle Mariners, on May 27, 2013, in Seattle.(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) #
Children run away after an explosion in Kabul, on May 24, 2013. Several large explosions rocked a busy area in the center of the Afghan capital, with Reuters witnesses describing shooting in the area. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #
An Afghan policeman fires his weapon during a gun battle following a suicide attack in Kabul, on May 24, 2013. A suicide bomber struck in the heart of the Afghan capital, sending a plume of smoke billowing over Kabul. (AP Photo/Ahmad Jamshid) #
A wounded Afghan policeman is carried away from the site of an explosion in Kabul, on May 24, 2013. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #
In this photograph taken on May 7, 2013, Afghan miner Morad Ali, 30, stands where he was searching for gold in a mountainside near the village of Qara Zaghan in Baghlan province. Ali is one of generations of local men who have used chisels and pickaxes to extract small amounts of gold from the forbidding peaks above the village of Qara Zaghan on the edge of the Hindu Kush mountains. Now a dirt track has been carved up to the spot, and professional surveying is underway as part of efforts to assess how Afghanistan's vast mineral wealth could be exploited as the country seeks a more stable and prosperous future. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images) #
A foreign youth pops an ollie on her skateboard as Afghan youths gather for The Sound Central Festival at the French Cultural Center in Kabul, on May 2, 2013. The Sound Central Festival, now on its second year, is the only event of its kind that takes places in Afghanistan, where music was banned by the Taliban until the end of 2001. (Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images) #
Honor guards stand next to the coffins of Georgian servicemen who were recently killed in Afghanistan, in Tbilisi, Georgia, on May 16, 2013. Three Georgian soldiers serving with the NATO-led force in Afghanistan were killed in an insurgent attack on a base in Helmand province. (AP Photo/Shakh Aivazov) #
Moha Zakir, a trainee at the Afghan National Army commando school at Camp Moorehead. (USAF/Staff Sgt. Dustin Payne) #
U.S. Army Spc. Robert Purvis, a generator mechanic with Headquarters Support Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, skypes with his wife Shandel Purvis, on May 13, 2013, from Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan, as they wait for the birth of their first son at Winn Army Community Hospital, Fort Stewart, Georgia.(US Army/Staff Sgt. Elvis Umanzor) #
An Afghan National Army commando with 3rd Company, 1st Special Operations Kandak, pulls security on a patrol through a poppy field during a clearing operation in Khugyani district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, on May 9, 2013. (US Army/Staff Sgt. Kaily Brown) #
Chelsay Kurtz weeps with her daughter Chsaige, 3, while sitting by the name of her husband's friend, Cpl. Taylor Baune, who was killed in Afghanistan, during a Memorial Day ceremony at the Mount Soledad Veteran's Memorial in La Jolla, California, on May 27, 2013. The ceremony honored Glen A. Doherty and Tyrone Woods, who were Navy Seals and were killed during the attacks on the U.S. Diplomatic Compound in Benghazi on September 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Sandy Huffaker) #
Afghan school children walk home after classes at an open-air classroom on the outskirts of Mihtarlam in Laghman province on May 25, 2013. (Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images) #
An artist paints graffiti on a wall during the Sound Central music festival in Kabul, on May 1, 2013. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #
Afghan drug addict, Abdul Rahman, 44, exhales after smoking opium as his children watch him at his home in Laghman province, on May 21, 2013. The number of Afghan heroin addicts has tripled to 150,000, according to the United Nations, with 230,000 people using opium in 2012. (Waseem Nikzad/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Afghan boy flies his kite on a hill overlooking Kabul, on May 13, 2013. Banned during the Taliban regime, kite flying is once again the main recreational escape for Afghan boys and some men. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
An Afghan National Army soldier returns from a patrol through local villages of Hesarak, Nangarhar province, on May 17, 2013.(U.S. Army/Spc. Vang Seng Thao) #
Afghans look at shoes that remain at the scene after a vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in the Alingar district of Laghman province, east of Kabul, on June 03, 2013. A statement from the provincial government said a group of four women and two children had gone with a male driver into the hills to collect firewood. On their way back, their vehicle hit the mine and all inside were killed.(AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #
A girl stands next to soldiers in Eindhoven, on May 6, 2013. Over 80 Dutch soldiers left for Afghanistan from the Eindhoven Airport to replace the current F-16 detachment. (Robin Van Lonkhuijsen/AFP/Getty Images) #
Soldiers from the Afghan National Army stand at the entrance of an old palace at ANA Forward Operating Base Muqor in Ghazni province, on May 28, 2013. (Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images) #
Afghan security forces stand over the dead bodies of insurgents after a suicide attack in Bazarak district, Panjshir province, on May 29, 2013. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Afghan defense serviceman inspects the bloodied walls and severed limbs and head of an insurgent lying amid debris following a suicide attack in Bazarak district, Panjshir province, on May 29, 2013. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Afghan firefighter works inside the charred interior of the provincial governor's office following a suicide attack in Bazarak district, on May 29, 2013. Afghan security forces killed six suicide bombers who attacked the Panjshir provincial governor's office early on May 29, officials said, in an assault on one the the most stable areas of the country.