Now they’ll try even harder: Prince Harry and his comrades are said to have unleashed a Hellfire missile to eliminate terror chief after tracking him in war-torn Helmand province.
The warlords of Afghanistan had already put a £25,000 price on Prince Harry’s head.
And last night military experts feared the bounty for assassinating him may have increased dramatically.
It follows unofficial reports yesterday that co-pilot Harry, 28 , had killed his first Taliban commander as he flew a mission as part of an Apache gunship crew.
He and his comrades are said to have unleashed a Hellfire missile to eliminate the terror chief after tracking him in war-torn Helmand province.
But there were growing fears yesterday that the story, which was reported worldwide, will only increase the danger facing the prince – and those around him.
A Western intelligence source said: “There is no doubt that chatter between jihadists in Afghanistan will increase in relation to intensifying attempts to harm the prince. The trouble is any increased threat against a member of UK forces directly threatens all those on the front line.”
MoD sources also expressed concern over the way the incident had been reported.
One senior insider said: “It is not helpful that the prince has been singled out in this way.”
He added: “He is part of a team that is taking part in extremely hazardous operations on a daily basis and naturally anybody can come to the conclusion that he will have been engaged in operations that result in the deaths of insurgents.
“To say he personally did this could jeopardise future operations for the Apache team.”
The incident was reported to have taken place in late October during a patrol with Afghan troops, just a few weeks after Harry had arrived in Camp Bastion.
A short time earlier the Taliban launched a major attack on the camp, killing two US marines.
They later claimed the base was targeted because Harry was there. They said in a statement at the time: “We are using all our strength to get rid of him, either by killing or kidnapping. We have informed our commanders in Helmand to do whatever they can to eliminate him.”
Tory MP and former Army Colonel Patrick Mercer said yesterday’s report could only make Harry an even greater target.
He said: “It’s misleading to say this is purely Prince Harry’s responsibility.
“He is part of a team and he’s always been at pains to stress the teamwork which is involved.
“I wonder how sensible it is to celebrate his being involved in the killing of a Taliban commander.
“It can only create further difficulties over his security.”
Last night Harry was already being branded a “murderer” by extremists on social networks.
One posted: “Prince Harry murders Afghans with hellfire missile and it’s celebratory front page news.” Harry was first deployed to Afghanistan in 2008, when he worked as a ground-based air controller.
His tour was cut short when a news blackout designed to protect him on the front line was broken by foreign media. He is currently coming to the end of his latest four-month tour in Helmand with 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps.
Last night an MOD spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on individuals’ involvement in high-profile operations.”
Prince Charles recently spoke of his concern at Harry being on the front line. He told families at a military awards ceremony: “You worry all the time.”
As an Apache gunner Harry, known to comrades as “Big H”, has been desperate not to take credit for individual missions since they involve a huge team operation.
He is expected to return home next month after completing his latest tour.
Before then the third in line to the throne will follow military tradition by joining other officers in carving turkeys and serving Christmas lunch to hundreds of junior soldiers at Camp Bastion.