President Trump has reportedly shown renewed interest in a proposal by Blackwater founder Erik Prince to privatize the United States’ war in Afghanistan, according to an NBC News.
NBC News on Friday, citing current and former senior administration officials, reported the proposition would replace troops with private military contractors who would work for a government liaison, who would in turn report directly to the president.
Trump’s “advisers are worried his impatience with the Afghanistan conflict will cause him to seriously consider proposals like Prince’s or abruptly order a complete U.S. withdrawal,” according to the report.In an interview with NBC News, Prince said he thinks Trump’s advisers are painting “as rosy a picture as they can” in the war effort while claiming that peace is near.
NBC News reports that administration officials often emphasize political resolutions with the Taliban and downplay military frustrations on the ground.
Prince also told NBC News that he will soon launch a media campaign to bring the White House around to his proposal.
A spokesperson for the National Security Council pushed back at the report, telling NBC News that the president is committed to the strategy he signed off on last year and that “no such proposal from Erik Prince is under consideration.”
The proposal, if implemented, would be sure to raise eyebrows on ethical grounds. First, Prince is the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Second, Blackwater, now known as Academi, has a fraught history with human rights following its employees’ involvement in the killings of unarmed civilians in Iraq.
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai limited the use of contractors in Afghanistan in 2010, a policy the current government would have to overturn for this proposal to be viable.
The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill.