Founder of notorious private military company Blackwater looking to extract minerals from war-torn Afghanistan
According to journalist Antony Loewenstein from TRTWorld, a Turkish international news channel, the founder of notorious private military company Blackwater is looking to monetize a war-torn Afghanistan by extracting and mining the country’s minerals.
Blackwater, which is now known as Academi, is a private military company which was founded by Navy SEAL officer Erik Prince, who is also the chairman of logistics firm Frontier Services Group. The company gained notoriety when several employees were convicted of murdering 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007. Since then, the company has grown to receive million dollar contracts with the United States federal government, providing international services to the CIA, offsite U.S. military bases, and other U.S. government departments.
Last year, Prince proposed a plan to privatize the Afghan war to the White House. According to Buzzfeed, The proposal includes extracting rare minerals, such as lithium, from Afghanistan’s most war-torn areas.
In early January 2018, Prince met with several high ranking government officials from the Afghan Ministry of Mines to begin the process of mineral extractions.
An Afghan Kabul-based mining expert, who has remained anonymous to protect their identity, tells TRTWorld that officials from both the United States Geological Survey and Department of Commerce have begun working the the U.S. embassy in Kabul.
The Kabul-based source has researched the local and foreign efforts to exploit Afghanistan of its rich minerals. They detail that the Trump administration are seeking access to several map archives by Soviet geologists to assess the minerals’ qualities.
Loewenstein reportedly inquired about Prince’s plans, but his spokesperson simply said he “currently had no mining interest in Afghanistan.”
But TRTWorld’s source explains that Prince has adopted a long-term strategy to begin the U.S. extraction of minerals by working with local and political leaders in Afghanistan’s upcoming 2019 presidential election, and utilizing news outlets to introduce himself and his company.
Due to Prince’s companies’ track records throughout the Middle East, many worry that his current actions are another example of foreign powers working to destabilize and monopolize another region by exploiting political conflicts.