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Contractors from the U.S. security firm Blackwater give instructions to Afghan anti-narcotics forces in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 15, 2005 (AP photo by Musadeq Sadeq).

America Needs to Consider New Ideas in Afghanistan—Including Erik Prince’s Plan

Friday, Sept. 8, 2017

Frustration with the stalemate in Afghanistan has broadened the domestic debate over U.S. strategy there. For the time being, President Donald Trump remains committed to the general approach taken by the George W. Bush and Obama administrations. But options that seemed unthinkable a few years ago, like outright disengagement, are now on the table. As this unfolds, one out-of-the-box proposal in particular has sparked intense discussion among security experts: a plan to replace American troops with contractors.

The most prominent proponent of this idea, Erik Prince, is a former U.S. Navy SEAL with connections in the Trump administration. Prince is currently the chairman of Frontier Services, a Chinese-owned business that provides security, logistics and insurance to corporations operating in austere environments. He was also the founder of Blackwater, a private security firm that became infamous in Iraq when several of its employees were convicted of killing civilians. ...

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