Veteran, military communities making sure no one ‘left behind’ after Afghanistan attacks
Truman Center for National Policy visiting fellow Camille Mackler reacts to ‘herculean’ efforts to get refugees out of Afghanistan.
American defense contractor and Blackwater founder Erik Prince is reportedly offering individuals desperate to flee Afghanistan following the Taliban's swift takeover of the country earlier this month a seat on a chartered plane out of Kabul – for a steep fee.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Prince was guaranteeing individuals that he could safely escort them to Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport and onto a private flight for $6,500 a person before President Biden shuts the window for rescues in coming days.
Prince, a former NAVY Seal who co-founded Blackwater in 1997, was reportedly charging extra to transport individuals trapped in their homes to the airport.
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White House press secretary Jen Psaki denounced Prince on Wednesday when asked about his plans.
"I don’t think any human being who has a heart and soul would support efforts to profit off people’s agony and pain if they’re trying to depart a country and fearing for their lives," she said.
It's not the first time that Prince has come under scrutiny for his actions in the Middle East: In 2014, Blackwater guards were convicted of killing civilians while providing security for Americans during the Iraq War.
Prince was also implicated in a 2012 report from the United Nations that alleged he had violated an arms embargo with Somalia during the nation's civil war in 1992. The Blackwater founder was again accused of violating an arms embargo in 2019, this time with Libya. At the time, the New York Times reported that Prince had allegedly supplied a warlord conspiring to overthrow Libya's government, which was elected democratically, with weapons in exchange for $80 million.
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It's unclear whether Prince had the capability or means to evacuate those attempting to leave the country. Even if individuals could afford the asking price – the average Afghan worker earns less than $600 a year – it's almost impossible to access the airport.
Blackwater, which now operates under the name Academi, did not respond to a FOX Business request for comment.
During a Wednesday press conference, a Taliban spokesperson warned Afghan citizens about leaving the country, saying the militant group was "not happy" and would not allow them to flee. U.S. officials have evacuated 70,700 people since Aug. 17 and are "on pace" to meet Biden's Aug. 31 deadline, Biden said this week.
That was also before two explosions struck a dense crowd outside the airport on Thursday, leaving dozens injured or dead, including some American marines who were killed. The Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, condemned the attack.
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