President Trump is weighing a proposal to send 5,500 private security contractors and a private air force of 90 planes to Afghanistan in order to turn the tide of the nearly 16-year-old war, according to USA Today.
Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL and founder of the Blackwater security firm, has been pushing a privatization of U.S. forces in the country amid a stalemate with the Taliban and told the newspaper the White House is now actively considering it. Prince is the brother of Betsy DeVos, who is Trump’s education secretary.
The private contractors would be mostly former U.S. special operators and would help advise Afghan security forces, and the aircraft would provide air support to those forces, according to the report. There are currently about 8,400 U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan.
Both Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and H.R. McMaster, the president’s national security adviser, have apparently voiced doubts about the privatization proposal, but chief White House strategist Steve Bannon is entertaining the idea, USA Today reported.
Read more at the Washington Examiner.