Graeme Smith has worked as a political affairs officer for the United Nations in Afghanistan since 2015. He was previously a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, after several years as a foreign correspondent for Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail. The newspaper posted him as bureau chief in Moscow (2005), Kandahar (2006–2009), Delhi (2010) and Istanbul (2011). He also worked as an adjunct scholar for the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. His awards include three National Newspaper Awards, Canada’s highest prize for print journalism, and the annual Michener Award for public service given by the Governor General of Canada. He also won an Emmy in 2009, for a video series that recorded the opinions of Taliban fighters. He lives in Kabul.
Contact him at smithg (at) gmail (dot) com, Follow him on Twitter @smithkabul
“Building With The Brigadier,” written with Globe and Mail investigative reporter Greg McArthur, was based partly on documents I obtained in Libya during the revolution. The papers revealed a close relationship between the Gadhafi family and SNC-Lavalin, Canada’s largest engineering firm. The company dismissed its CEO and two senior executives, one of whom was arrested. Our story about the affair won two gold and one silver prize at the 2013 National Magazine Awards. Read.
My investigation of detainees transferred into local custody by Canadian troops revealed widespread torture in Afghan jails; two weeks later, Ottawa signed a new bilateral agreement with Kabul to protect prisoners. The lead story, “From Canadian Custody Into Cruel Hands,” raised the question of whether Canadian officials knew they were dumping prisoners into torture chambers. Despite years of controversy, that question remains unanswered. Read.
Our multimedia series “Talking To The Taliban” gave viewers the opportunity to watch 42 insurgents discuss why they fight in southern Afghanistan, and made public the raw video of each interview along with accompanying articles and short documentaries. The project won several prizes – including a 2009 Emmy Award, for New Approaches to News and Documentary. Watch.