( AFP ) - Prince Harry was on a plane back to Britain after spending 10 weeks in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban, Sky News television and the Press Association reported Friday.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence in London declined to confirm the reports when contacted by AFP, though the ministry said earlier it would withdraw the 23-year-old royal "immediately" after news of his posting was leaked by foreign media.
He was deployed in December under a cloak of secrecy following an unusual news blackout deal between the media and the army.
But the arrangement collapsed Thursday after news was leaked on the US website, the Drudge Report, which gained notoriety by revealing details of then US president Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky.
"Following a detailed assessment of the risks by the operational chain of command, the decision has been taken to withdraw Prince Harry from Afghanistan immediately," said a ministry statement earlier on Friday.
The decision was taken because "the worldwide media coverage of Prince Harry in Afghanistan could impact on the security of those who are deployed there, as well as the risks to him as an individual soldier."