U.N.’s Afghan vote fraud row shows split in West
Thu Oct 1, 2009 4:42pm EDT
By Peter Graff – Analysis
KABUL (Reuters) – A U.S. diplomat’s scathing charge that the United Nations effectively let Afghanistan’s election be stolen has exposed the international community’s disunity and may help explain Washington’s new doubts about the war.
The outcome of the August 20 election has yet to be decided, amid accusations of massive fraud, and in public all Western diplomatic missions in Kabul say they are reserving judgment until a complaints process is complete.
In a strongly worded letter to Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, veteran U.S. diplomat Peter Galbraith accused his Norwegian U.N. boss of blocking anti-fraud efforts, which Galbraith said would have forced a second round of voting if carried out properly.
The United Nations responded by sacking Galbraith. The U.N. mission chief, Kai Eide, has rejected the criticism and says he supports a fraud investigation which is still under way.
But the ramifications of the dispute go far beyond the question of who will occupy the number two post at the mission’s headquarters in a secluded compound in central Kabul, and could help decide the future of the eight-year-old war.
Galbraith is a close ally of Richard Holbrooke, President Barack Obama’s point man for Afghanistan and Pakistan.