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  July 9, 2008

Carnage in Kabul

Graeme Smith: Taliban forces 'franchised' and mostly Afghan based
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Graeme Smith has devoted more time to southern Afghanistan than any other Western journalist, since the arrival of NATO forces in that region. Hired by The Globe and Mail in 2001, the war in southern Afghanistan became his full-time project in mid-2006. His awards include the Canadian Association of Journalists' prize for investigative reporting; the Amnesty International award for Canadian print journalism; and the 2007 Michener Award.

A suicide car bomb ripped through the gates of the Indian Embassy in Kabul on Monday. Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday condemned the attack that killed 41 people and wounded 150. It was the deadliest blast in Kabul since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Afghanistan was quick to blame Pakistan but Pakistanís Prime Minister Gillani denied that its intelligence service was behind the attack. The Real News spoke with Graeme Smith of the Globe and Mail in Kandahar to learn more.


VOICEOVER: Afghanistan's foreign ministry on Tuesday condemned the suicide bomb attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul. It was the deadliest blast since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Forty-one people were killed and 150 were wounded. Afghanistan quickly blamed Pakistan, but Pakistan's prime minister, Gillani, denied that its intelligence service was behind the attack. The Real News spoke with Graeme Smith of The Globe and Mail in Kandahar.

GRAEME SMITH, THE GLOBE AND MAIL: The Afghans have been increasingly blunt in recent months in their accusations about support for the insurgency coming from Pakistan. But, you know, frankly, among people that follow the insurgency here, you know, they've [inaudible] two lines. You know, on one hand, yes, Taliban are staging their operations in Pakistan, they're receiving support inside the Pakistani border. But on the other hand, you know, a lot of the people who are launching these attacks are Afghans. And I think there's a feeling that the insurgency is largely not what they call exogenous, meaning the momentum of the insurgency is largely coming from within Afghanistan. One of the things, though, that I think has been driving the spread of the insurgency, certainly in the last two years, has been what they call the franchise expansion. So a lot of different groups are now fighting against the Afghan government, but those different groups don't necessarily take orders from the same place. You know, a lot of them might swear allegiance to Mullah Mohammed Omar, the leader of the Taliban, but in practice a lot of these are fairly semi-autonomous [inaudible] units. We're in the middle of the largest wave of violence this country has seen since the fall of the Taliban regime and actually, probably, the largest wave of violence this country has seen probably in the last decade or so.


Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


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