Throughout the week, the team at Vice has been uploading episodes from the first season of their globetrotting gonzo-journalism HBO series for fans to watch for free online.
But the Emmy-nominated series — which grabbed headlines this year for sending Dennis Rodman to North Korea, among other things — isn’t resting on its Kim Jong-un–hazing laurels: the crew’s already hard at work on their second season. Vice cofounder and CEO Shane Smith spoke to us from Afghanistan to talk about the places they’ll be going, the scoops they’ll be getting, and the Pulitzer Prize they’ve got their eyes on.
EW: So where are you right now?
Shane Smith: I’m in Kandahar. It’s a bit quiet because it’s Eid right now, but it’s a bit of a hairy town, obviously, because it’s the capital and birthplace of the Taliban. So you’ve gotta keep a low profile. We’ve been investigating on how much money we’re wasting here — some estimates say as much as $100 billion on schools that’ve become chicken coops and military bases that’ve become goat farms. And we’re gearing up to head up to the Helmand Province soon, so that’ll be big.
The craziest thing we’re doing here, which is supposed to happen in the next couple of days, is that we’re supposed to go out with [General] Abdul Raziq, who’s the head of the border police here in Kandahar. He’s essentially the most powerful man in the southeast — he controls the Pakistani border, and he’s known as the Taliban Killer. He was trained by the special forces and now he’s gone apes—; he’s the only guy the Taliban fear. So we’re going out on a crazy patrol with his lunatic forces who are sort of half-dressed as the Afghan National Army and half-dressed as Adam and the Ants. They’re all very colorful chaps who are not afraid to go out and engage. If it all comes together, that’s going to be the craziest thing I’ve ever f—ing done.
And we are meeting with the Taliban while we’re here to get their take on things as well. We’re going to go up to a Jirga, which is a tribal council. We’ve been invited by one of the warlords, so they can’t f— with us because we’re under his hospitality.
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