August 26, 2021
Erik Prince, the founder and former CEO of the private military contractor previously known as Blackwater, is looking to take Afghans for a ride: He reportedly offering to fly people out of Kabul for $6,500 each as the evacuation effort in Afghanistan ramps up ahead of President Joe Biden’s Tuesday, August 31, deadline, The Hill reports.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, August 25, that, for US$6,500 each, Prince has offered to safely transport people into the Hamid Karzai International Airport and onto a chartered flight—with an extra fee for those who want to be brought to the airport,but are trapped in their homes.
Prince’s offer comes as U.S. citizens and Afghan allies are scrambling to leave the country amid the deteriorating security situation as the Taliban tighten their grip on the country. The Journal reports that NATO and U.S. teams are being dispatched to Taliban-controlled parts of Kabul to escort their people to the airport.
According to The Hill, the United States evacuated roughly 19,000 from Afghanistan between early Tuesday and early Wednesday, according to a White House official—bringing the total number of individuals pulled from the region to approximately 82,300.
Those efforts, however, have been stymied by the Taliban, who have begun to dig in against the removal of Afghans.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid on Tuesday warned Afghan citizens against leaving the country, saying during a press conference, “The Afghans leaving, we are not going to allow that, and we are not even happy about it.”
The Taliban have set up checkpoints on paths leading to the airport in Kabul, where people have reported being beaten, whipped, and intimidated.
Prince, a former Navy SEAL and a top ally to former President Donald Trump, gained widespread attention in 2007 when contractors from Blackwater killed 17 civilians in Iraq.
He also has faced accusations of breaking the arms embargoes on Somalia and Libya; and has denied allegations of setting up a backchannel communications line with the Russian government.
Research contact: @thehill