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Graeme Smith

Senior Consultant, Afghanistan

Crisis Group Role

Graeme Smith is a senior consultant for Crisis Group’s Asia Program, focusing on Afghanistan. He assists in developing the research agenda and shaping the analysis and reporting on the Afghan conflict and its regional dimensions, as well as contributing to research projects on the humanitarian and economic consequences of the Taliban takeover.

Professional Background

Graeme Smith is an author and consultant with nine years of on-the-ground experience in Afghanistan since 2005. His recent clients included the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution (NOREF) and the International Crisis Group (ICG). From 2015 to 2018, he served as a Political Affairs Officer for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, with responsibility for domestic politics. He previously worked as the Crisis Group country director in Afghanistan (2012-2015). His career as a journalist included more than a decade as a staff reporter for The Globe and Mail, which posted him in Moscow (2005), Kandahar (2006-2009), Delhi (2010) and Istanbul (2011). He taught politics at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. His awards include the Michener Award for public service granted annually by the governor general of Canada. He also won an Emmy Award in 2009, for a video series that recorded the opinions of Taliban fighters. His bestselling book, The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War In Afghanistan, was published in Canada (2013), the United States (2014) and France (2015). He co-wrote and presented a documentary, “Ghosts of Afghanistan”, which debuted in English, French and German in 2021.

Areas of Expertise

  • Taliban
  • Political economy
  • Conflict analysis
  • Informal trade

Languages

  • English
  • French
  • Dari

Select Publications

The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War In Afghanistan

In The News

9 May 2022
The whole world is trying to scramble for limited supplies and Afghanistan will be one of the least able to compete. NPR

Graeme Smith

Senior Consultant, Afghanistan
20 Feb 2022
Western economic restrictions are creating an economic crisis in the country which is driving tens of millions Afghans into starvation. The New York Times

Graeme Smith

Senior Consultant, Afghanistan
13 Dec 2021
History shows that ignoring Afghanistan allows problems to fester and grow. Migration, terrorism, drugs: all of these issues could destabilize the region and spill over into Europe. The Wall Street Jounral

Graeme Smith

Senior Consultant, Afghanistan
4 Nov 2021
If we do nothing, Afghanistan drifts into state collapse. The economic chokehold is squeezing the air out of the economy. Christian Science Monitor

Graeme Smith

Senior Consultant, Afghanistan
16 Jan 2020
[The Taliban's] pause in attacks on cities is unprecedented over the last dozen years. AFP

Graeme Smith

Senior Consultant, Afghanistan
12 Feb 2019
[Without a solid plan for the US to leave Afghanistan] the inferno of violence that follows might be much worse. AFP

Graeme Smith

Senior Consultant, Afghanistan

Latest Updates

Podcast / Asia

Taliban Rule in Afghanistan

This week on Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to Afghanistan experts Graeme Smith and Ibraheem Bahiss — both back from a recent visit to Kabul — about life under Taliban rule, the Taliban government’s recent decision to keep girls’ secondary schools closed and Afghanistan’s relations with the outside world.

Afghanistan: The Humanitarian Crisis and U.S. Response

In a 9 February 2022 hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Crisis Group’s Senior Afghanistan Consultant Graeme Smith outlined two long-term ways the U.S. can mitigate Afghanistan’s humanitarian and economic crises in the aftermath of war and subsequent Taliban takeover.

Q&A / Asia

Toward a New Mandate for the UN Mission in Afghanistan

The UN mission in Afghanistan will soon be up for renewal. In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts Ashish Pradhan and Graeme Smith discuss how the UN Security Council could update its list of responsibilities with the Taliban back in charge.

Podcast / Asia

Western Policy and Afghanistan’s Humanitarian Devastation

This week on Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood and Naz Modirazadeh talk to Crisis Group Consultant Graeme Smith about Afghanistan and what can be done to prevent millions from falling into famine as winter approaches.

Q&A / Asia

Who Will Run the Taliban Government?

The Taliban have named a slate of officials to head an interim government in Afghanistan. In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts Ibraheem Bahiss and Graeme Smith review the roster and assess its implications for the country’s near-term future.