White House Considering Unprecedented Plan to Privatize War in Afghanistan

HeadlineAug 09, 2017

The White House is considering an unprecedented plan to privatize the war in Afghanistan at the urging of Erik Prince, founder of the now-defunct private mercenary firm Blackwater. Prince told USA Today the plan would include sending 5,500 private mercenaries to Afghanistan to advise the Afghan army. It would also include deploying a private air force—with at least 90 aircraft—to carry out the bombing campaign against Taliban insurgents. Prince says the plan would cost $10 billion a year of taxpayer money, which would presumably be funneled directly to private mercenary firms. The Trump administration is divided over the plan, with Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon supporting it, and national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis—both former military generals—opposing the plan. The plan’s consideration comes as a federal appeals court has overturned the prison sentences of former Blackwater contractors who were involved in a 2007 massacre in Nisoor Square in central Baghdad, killing 17 civilians when they opened fire with machine guns and threw grenades into the crowded public space.

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