Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater said he proposed to send about 5,000 private military contractors to replace U.S. troops helping the Afghan army and his plan would cut the annual cost of the war from an estimated $45 billion to less than $10 billion.
Prince is now executive director and chairman of US Frontier Services Group.
“At what point do you say a conventional military approach in Afghanistan is not working,” Prince said. “Maybe we say that at 16 years.”
He said his plan would institute a “unity of command” and the contractors would “attach” to the Afghan army.
“The interagency process, you’ve had 17 different commanders in 15 years. That’s not even counting ambassadors or CIA station chiefs,” Prince said. “So you have to have one person that is clearly in charge of U.S. policy, spending, rules of engagement of the effort there.
“The way the United Nations defines mercenaries, by being attached to the Afghan army, they would not be mercenaries,” he added. “So they would be contracted people, professionals, former special operations veterans that have experience in that theater to go do that work.”
There are currently about 8,400 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and the U.S. is sending about 100 more Marines to the Helmand Province to help the 300 Americans who are already there advising and assisting Afghan security forces.