UN chief sacks Afghan deputy

2009-09-30 21:05

New York - UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday dismissed the deputy UN special envoy to Afghanistan who has been involved in a row with his boss over the country's fraud-tainted election.

"The Secretary General has decided to recall Mr Peter Galbraith from Afghanistan and to end his appointment as the deputy special representative for Unama (United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan)," a UN statement said.

Ban hailed Galbraith's "important contributions to the work of the mission and throughout his distinguished career as an international civil servant."

Differences between Galbraith and the UN special representative to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, over how fraud allegations in the election should be dealt with became public earlier this month when Galbraith abruptly left Kabul to return to the United States.

Endemic corruption

His removal was seen as a blow to US status in Afghanistan, and a victory to President Hamid Karzai, who had been under pressure from US officials, including Galbraith, to deal with endemic corruption.

"The US has a lot at stake in Afghanistan, not only in terms of soldiers who are dying fighting the Taliban but also in terms of prestige," said Haroun Mir, of Afghanistan's Centre for Research and Policy Studies.

"It's a setback for the election and a big loss for the Afghan people because Eide is concerned only about being seen to be a success. It's all about the process but the process has already lost credibility," he said.

Diplomatic sources in Kabul said the dispute became public that Galbraith and Eide, a Norwegian, differed in their approach to dealing with the allegations of widespread fraud tainting Afghanistan's August 20 election.