Prince Harry has been defended by the Ministry of Defence against claims he kills “innocent Afghans” while “drunk”.

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The MoD has hit back at stinging comments by former Afghan Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and said rules prohibit troops from consuming alcohol while deployed on operations.

A spokesman said: “The suggestion that any member of the UK armed forces deployed on operations operates under the influence of alcohol is simply absurd – the consumption of alcohol by UK military personnel is not permitted under any circumstances while deployed in Afghanistan.”

Speaking about Harry – who was reported to have killed a Taliban chief in an attack in October – Gulbuddin said: “The British prince comes to Afghanistan to kill innocent Afghans while he is drunk. He wants to hunt down Mujahideen with his helicopter’s rockets, without any shame.

“During the Mujahideen’s attack on the American base the prince saw that he was the one about to be hunted and was searching for a hole in which to hide himself.”