Jen Psaki says Blackwater founder Erik Prince is soulless for charging $6,500 for Kabul evacuation flight

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U.S. Air Force loadmasters and pilots assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, load people being evacuated from Afghanistan onto a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021.
U.S. Air Force loadmasters and pilots assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, load people being evacuated from Afghanistan onto a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen/U.S. Air Force via AP
  • Psaki condemned defense contractor Erik Prince's plans to charge $6,500 for seats on a flight out of Kabul. 

  • "I don't think any human being who has a heart and soul would support efforts to profit off of people's agony," she said. 

  • Prince, the founder of Blackwater, said he'll charge extra to transport passengers to the airport.

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki condemned defense contractor Erik Prince for his plans to charge $6,500 for seats on a chartered evacuation flight out of Kabul, Afghanistan. 

Related video: Thousands try to flee Afghanistan after Taliban takes control

When first asked about private contractors profiting off the ongoing evacuation of Americans, Afghans, and others from the country, Psaki said the Biden administration doesn't approve of charging evacuees. 

"We are evacuating people free of cost because that is the right step to take and certainly we wouldn't be supportive of profiting off people who are desperate to get out of a country," she told reporters during her Wednesday press briefing.

After being asked specifically about Prince's plans, she condemned the proposal in harsher terms. 

"I don't think any human being who has a heart and soul would support efforts to profit off of people's agony and pain if they're trying to depart a country and fearing for their lives," she said. 

Prince, a Trump ally and founder Blackwater Worldwide, said he'll charge extra to transport passengers to the airport from their homes in Kabul, The Wall Street Journal first reported

-The Hill (@thehill) August 25, 2021

Since the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 14, US troops and allied forces have evacuated more than 82,000 people, including more than 4,000 Americans and their families, Psaki said on Wednesday. She added that there are about 1,500 additional US citizens still in Afghanistan who the government has been in touch with or reached out to "multiple times a day through multiple communication platforms." 

-Acyn (@Acyn) August 25, 2021

There are tens of thousands of Afghans eligible for special immigrant visas for their work with the US military who are still stuck in the country. Human rights groups believe there are about 300,000 Afghans who have worked with US forces over the last two decades and are therefore at high risk of being targeted by the Taliban if they stay in Afghanistan. 

Related video: Afghanistan cafe offered women a safe space pre-Taliban

Prince's defense contracting has long drawn scrutiny. In 2014, four of his Blackwater contractors were convicted of killing 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians, including women and children. Last December, Trump pardoned the contractors. Earlier this year, UN investigators found that Prince violated a UN arms embargo on Libya when he delivered weapons and foreign mercenaries to a Libyan militia leader planning to overthrow the country's government in 2019. 

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