Political News

Blackwater founder: Trump will have to rethink his Afghanistan plan soon

Posted August 22

Erik Prince, founder of the controversial military contracting firm Blackwater, doesn't think President Donald Trump's conventional Afghanistan strategy of "more troops and more money" will be enough.

In fact, Prince predicted that in three to six months, the US will have to reevaluate its new plan for the US' longest war.

"I think in six months, even three months, the President is going to see the conventional approach that's already been tried and failed for 16 years -- there's got to be some other things considered," the former Navy SEAL said Tuesday on CNN's "Newsroom."

On Monday night, Trump announced his plan for the US in Afghanistan and South Asia, which includes shifting to a conditional-based approach and an increased number of troops.

The US currently has about 8,400 troops in Afghanistan. Trump is the third President to hold office while the US has been involved in Afghanistan -- a war that has now lasted more than 16 years.

"Sadly the President was backed into a bad decision last night," Prince told CNN's Pamela Brown on Tuesday afternoon. "The Pentagon never gave him any other realistic options other than more troops and more money."

Prior to Trump's announcement, an unconventional approach Prince proposed had been floated by various White House officials.

Prince, in a plan he detailed in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in June, has proposed that the US shift to primarily using the private sector in its Afghanistan military operations.

His plan included the use of a viceroy -- a term that recalls colonialism -- to lead US efforts in the country, and would utilize more contractors.

Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon reached out to Prince after the WSJ op-ed published, Prince told CNN in an previous interview on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront".

Prince noted in the same August 7 interview that White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster was opposed to the idea.

The weekend following Bannon's firing, Trump and his national security team made the final decision for their plan, and Prince's proposal ultimately lost out.

"The presidency as itself is in a bubble," Prince said, adding that there are many "conventional" generals "in that bubble."

Prince founded Blackwater, a private defense contractor that provoked international outrage after a deadly 2007 shooting in Iraq.

Blackwater lost a $1 billion contract with the State Department to protect American diplomatic personnel in 2009, after the Iraqi government refused to renew the company's operating license. The company was later renamed and sold, and now operates as Academi.

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