The Trump administration is reportedly considering hiring 5,500 private contractors to accelerate the conclusion of the 16-year-long war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, USA Today reports. The proposal comes amid reports that the White House is stumped on how to proceed in the conflict, which spanned two presidencies before landing in President Trump's lap.
The proposal is "unprecedented," USA Today writes, with Blackwater founder Erik Prince explaining that the thousands of new private contractors would phase out the U.S. military troops advising Afghan forces in the country. The contractors would serve as "adjuncts" of the national forces, wearing the Afghan military uniform. The plan would also involve a 90-plane private air force that would only operate with the local government's approval.
Concerns about the plan have been raised by Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, and his defense secretary, Jim Mattis, USA Today reports. Chief strategist Stephen Bannon approves of the proposal. Prince is the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
"At what point do you say a conventional military approach in Afghanistan is not working?" Prince asked. "Maybe we say that at 16 years."
Read The Week's James Poulos on America's failure in Afghanistan here.