U.S. President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster blocked Blackwater founder Erik Prince from debating the merits of his private security proposal at the recent high-level Afghanistan war strategy meeting at Camp David, the former Navy SEAL confirms to Breitbart News.
While McMaster and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis have been advocating for increasing the American military presence in Afghanistan, Prince has proposed using a private army of about 5,500 troops, backed by nearly 2,000 U.S. service members, to end the nearly 16-year-old war.
On Monday night, President Trump is expected to unveil his “new” Afghanistan war strategy, which the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) chief suggested will likely involve taking a page from the previous administration’s playbook — beefing up the estimated 8,400 American troops already in the war-ravaged country.
“Sadly, I anticipate [President Trump] to roll over and accept the same failed DOD paradigm of the last 16 years,” Prince told Breitbart News, alluding to the president’s announcement on the ongoing war in Afghanistan, which started in October 2001.
“As interested in diversity as the Pentagon claims to be, they aren’t interested in diversity of opinions on how to end their longest war,” he added, suggesting that the plan will be an extension of the failed status quo.
President Trump inherited a chaotic situation in Afghanistan — deteriorating security conditions, primarily at the hands of the Taliban — that went from bad to worse under his predecessor.
“I’m told I was invited but, indeed, blocked by McMaster,” Prince confirmed to Breitbart News, adding, “I was told by a senior person that I was on the list but then the list was cut way down to the group that attended.”
Last week, Mattis did reveal that the Trump administration was considering various options for dealing with the war in Afghanistan, including increasing the American military footprint by thousands of forces, the complete withdrawal of troops, and Prince’s proposal to outsource much of the U.S. war effort.
The Politico article suggested that the only Afghanistan war options on the table during the Camp David strategy session were a complete U.S. withdrawal — highly unlikely — and escalating the U.S. involvement.
With the departure of former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon, Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster teamed up to push for more troops in Afghanistan, according to Politico.
Pence’s office denied that the vice president had participated in efforts to persuade Trump to beef up the estimated 8,400 troops already in Afghanistan.
The push for more troops reportedly came on the same day that Bannon returned as the executive chairman of Breitbart News, after leaving the White House.
Bannon has argued in favor of limiting America’s military involvement abroad.
Until recently, President Trump had rejected the proposals devised by Mattis and McMaster, who have been advocating for sending more troops to the war-ravaged country, as has been done by the previous U.S. administrations.
Gen. John Nicholson, the top commander for U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, has asked the president for more American forces to help the Afghan security troops break a years-long stalemate in Afghanistan.
In its most recent quarterly report to the U.S. Congress, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) also noted, “The struggle between the Afghan government and insurgents remains a stalemate.”
Since the war started in October 2001, the United States appropriated about $714 billion dollars, both on war fighting and reconstruction.
The cost of healthcare and disability benefits for U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan is expected to reach $1 trillion in the coming decades.
Moreover, terrorists, primarily the Taliban, have killed 2,257 U.S. service members and injured 20,257 others.