As scenes of chaos and desperation mount ahead of the fastly approaching August 31 deadline to evacuate US troops from Afghanistan, Erik Prince, the notorious Blackwater founder, has identified a golden opportunity to make some cash on the final way out.
Prince, the Wall Street Journal reports, is currently charging $6,500 per person for a spot aboard chartered planes out of Kabul, a hefty rate that gets even more expensive if one should need assistance leaving their trapped homes. From the WSJ:
Mr. Prince, whose Blackwater guards were convicted of killing civilians in 2014 while providing security for Americans during the Iraq war, said he was charging each passenger $6,500 to get them safely into the airport and on a plane, and it would cost extra to get people who have been trapped in their homes to the airport. It remained unclear whether Mr. Prince had the wherewithal to carry out his plans.
Prince’s plans to capitalize on tragedy come amid a broader effort by aid organizations to rescue as many people as possible as the US struggles to process visas and evacuate both Americans still in the country and the tens of thousands of Afghans who worked for the US government over the past 20 years of war. As the Journal notes, most of these campaigns are “driven by genuine empathy for Afghan friends and colleagues” desperate to escape the Taliban’s imminent takeover. But Prince’s attempt to turn a profit fits right into his longstanding machinations to privatize every inch of the forever wars. At one point during the Trump administration, Steve Bannon tapped Prince, also the brother of former Trump education secretary Betsy DeVos, to come up with a plan to replace US troops in Afghanistan with Prince’s army of mercenaries. That didn’t work out, but Prince kept busy in recent years by overseeing operations to spy on so-called Trump enemies in government while misleading Congress in the Russia investigation.
Now he’s back, scrambling to make one last buck from the crisis in Afghanistan. The old war hawks are truly enjoying the spotlight.