Blackwater founder Erik Prince believes he has an “audience of one” to persuade to back his plan to turn the war effort in Afghanistan over to an army of private contractors backed by its own air force in a move that would see US and Nato forces largely withdrawn.
The 49-year old former US Navy Seal told a briefing in London that he could reduce the cost of America’s policy in Afghanistan from $52 billion (Dh191bn) annually to just over $10bn.
Mr Prince is calling on President Donald Trump to scrap the Afghan plan that his administration launched exactly a year ago on Tuesday. The centrepiece of the Prince proposal is a reduction in the US troop presence in the country to just 2,000 from the 16,000 there today.
A new strategy would see 6,000 contractors work on three-year contracts to provide a skeletal support staff for the Afghan army. A fleet of 90 combat aircraft would provide back-up for the deployments. He believes President Trump is open to the idea.