Washington – ‘I completely support President Trump’s stance on the ‘exit strategy’ he’s proposing for the war in Afghanistan. However, the war cannot end with US military withdrawal. The United States can relieve itself of the crisis by deploying thousands of mercenaries in Afghanistan,’ Erik Prince, the founder of the noted private military company ‘Blackwater’ proposed. At the time, Prince exemplified US’s ‘Saigon withdrawal’ from Vietnam while making his point.
During an interview with an Arabic news channel, Prince expressed his opinion on President Donald Trump’s announcement regarding the military withdrawal from Afghanistan. ‘During his election campaign, US President Trump had announced to end the endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am in complete support of his position to end the prolonged wars. Nevertheless, military withdrawal from Afghanistan is not the right alternative,’ Price said.
‘If we, if the United States leaves Afghanistan, withdraws any of the troops support or monetary support, you will have a moment like Saigon in 1975 with helicopters having to lift the US soldiers, diplomats and civilians off the roof of the US Embassy. It will be that bad,’ the Blackwater founder warned. Furthermore, he suggested that President Trump should explore options other than military withdrawal.
While speaking with an Arabic news channel, Prince said that President Trump should hand over the reins of Afghanistan operations to an army of private contractors. Prince proposed replacing 50,000 NATO troops and private contractors currently deployed in Afghanistan with 2,000 US special operators and 6,000 contractors. He further mentioned that the decision would cut down the cost of the Afghan war by $30 billion a year.
Prince tried to draw President Trump’s attention to the military withdrawal announced by former US President Barack Obama. In 2013, then US President Barack Obama declared the withdrawal of 34,000 US troops from Afghanistan. After that, the Taliban attacks increased, Prince reminded. He, therefore, proposed that President Trump should deploy the private contractors in Afghanistan before withdrawing the US military.
As per the figures published by the Pentagon, the yearly spending on the Afghan war is close to $45 billion. Therefore, Prince’s proposal to deploy the mercenaries could reduce the burden on the economy. Meanwhile, President Trump had announced military withdrawal from Afghanistan a few weeks ago. Although, he did not announce a time table for it. At the same time, no orders have been issued to the US defence forces on it as yet. The military withdrawal is mainly dependent on the outcome of the negotiations between the United States and the Taliban. Albeit, they have failed, and the Taliban has firmly refused to accede to any of the demands put forward by the United States.
Within a few hours of the development, Erik Prince offered his ‘Blackwater’ services saying that they were available to the government for Afghanistan. Previously, Prince had given a similar proposal while discussing the military withdrawal from Syria as well.