Erik Prince, the founder of the US military contractor Blackwater, is reportedly selling flights out of Kabul to desperate evacuees
Erik Prince, the founder and former CEO of the security contractor previously known as Blackwater, is reportedly offering to fly people out of Kabul for $6,500 each as the evacuation effort in Afghanistan ramps up ahead of President Biden’s Tuesday deadline.
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.
The U.S. 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, who is the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, former Navy SEAL and a top ally to former President Trump, gained widespread attention in 2007 when contractors from Blackwater killed 17 civilians in Iraq.
He has also faced accusations of breaking arms embargoes on Somalia and Libya and has denied allegations of setting up a backchannel communications line with the Russian government.
Erik Prince, the American defence contractor, said he is offering people seats on a chartered plane out of Kabul for $6,500 per person. U.S. and NATO forces are sending special rescue teams into Taliban-controlled areas of the city to spirit their citizens into the airport. And countless Afghans who thought the U.S. would protect them after having assisted the U.S.-led coalition forces in the past two decades are now realizing that they will most likely be left behind to face Taliban wrath alone.
Aid organizations have been told by Western governments that evacuation flights won’t continue past Friday, as the U.S. military will need the days remaining until the Aug. 31 deadline to remove its own equipment and troops from Kabul.