Afghan President Hamid Karzai defends Prince Harry over Taliban killing comments


Afghan President Hamid Karzai diplomatically defended Prince Harry today over his comments that he killed Taliban fighters while serving in Afghanistan, saying: "Young men do make mistakes talking."

In a joint interview with ITV News and The Guardian, the president, when asked whether the way the Prince expressed himself during his deployment was unwise, said: "Prince Harry is a young man, we do give exits to young men when they make mistakes."

The president is in the UK for talks with Prime Minister David Cameron and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari aimed at securing closer ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Harry, 28, told how he took enemy fighters "out of the game" during his 20-week posting. The Stop The War Coalition branded the comments "crass".

Asked whether he was upset about the way the Prince expressed his service in the country, Mr Karzai remarked: "Well, as I said, he's a young man, and young men do make mistakes talking, while behaving, all of us have gone through that period, so let's drop it there."

The president praised the Prince of Wales, with whom he is to hold talks today at Clarence House.

"Prince Charles, the father of Prince Harry, is a very fine gentleman, a man for whom I have tremendous respect," Mr Karzai said.

"For years, even when I was a student in Simla, I used to read about his dislike of modern architecture and the cement buildings and I entirely agreed with him.

"Prince Charles is a great representative of Britain and the British ways of life."

Heir to throne Charles and the president have met several times.

In 2006, they launched the Turquoise Mountain initiative together to help preserve some of Afghanistan's architectural and cultural heritage for future generations.