LONDON, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Britain's Prince Harry says he killed Afghan insurgents during sorties against the Taliban while on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan where he was a gunner in Apache attack helicopters.
Queen Elizabeth's 28-year-old grandson, third in line to the British throne, will return home later this week after a 20-week posting with NATO forces at the Camp Bastion military base in the southern province of Helmand.
Asked before he left Afghanistan if he had killed insurgents during his tour, he said: "Yeah, so, lots of people have. ... Yes, we fire when we have to, take a life to save a life, but essentially we're more of a deterrent than anything else.
"If there's people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we'll take them out of the game, I suppose," the second son of heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana said in one of several interviews released to the media.
The Taliban had said it would do its utmost to kidnap or kill Harry during his tour, and an Afghan insurgent warlord labelled him a drunken "jackal" out to kill innocent Afghans.
His base was attacked on his birthday last September, but it was never clear if he was the target or if the Taliban raid, in which two U.S. marines were killed, was in response to a film which was seen as insulting to the Prophet Mohammad.
Known in the military as Captain Harry Wales, he was deployed to Afghanistan four months ago, shortly after pictures of him frolicking naked with a nude woman at a hotel in Las Vegas were published around the world.
"I probably let myself down, I let my family down, I let other people down," he said of the Vegas incident. "But it was probably a classic example of me being too much army, and not enough prince."