Billionaire US military contractor Erik Prince is reportedly charging $6,500 per ticket for flights out of Afghanistan on a chartered plane, according to US media reports.
Prince founded Blackwater, a military contractor that played a key role in the United States’ wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands of Afghans, Americans, and people from different countries are currently fleeing Afghanistan as the Taliban regime grabs power. President Joe Biden has set a deadline of August 31 to pull out the American troops from the country and with the deadline fast approaching and Biden showing no signs of extending it, the desperation to leave Afghanistan is growing by the day.
Prince seems to have sensed an opportunity and is offering a way out to those who can afford it. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the financier has advertised his flights at $6,500 a ticket. This does not include the additional costs if the passenger needs help escaping their home and getting safely to the airport.
Prince’s actions have drawn widespread condemnation from journalists and public alike.
“Erik Prince sees a crisis for his fellow Americans and allies, and the billionaire uses it to charge $6,500 per person for a plane seat out. What a guy!,” activist Amy Siskind wrote on Twitter.
Prince is yet to comment on the controversy.
According to some figures, the United States and other countries have flown 19,200 people out of the international airport in Kabul in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of evacuees so far to 82,300.
Chief Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said that the United States has evacuated more than 4,400 of its citizens so far, an increase of about 400 from Tuesday. In total, more than 80,000 people, mostly Afghans, have been airlifted since August 14, he said.
“I am determined to ensure that we complete our mission,” Biden had said on Tuesday.