Diplomat Thrown Under the Bus in Afghan Election Count

When Action Speaks Louder Than Words

I have written previously here about the departure of Deputy Special Representative, Peter Galbraith from the UN Mission in Afghanistan due to reported disagreements with his boss, the head of UNAMA, Kai Eide.

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On September 30 the Guardian reported that Peter Galbraith was removed from UN post after pressing for inquiry into results heavily favouring Karzai. It said that “UN sources said Ban was persuaded to end Galbraith’s mission after ministers in Karzai’s government said they could no longer work with him. Confimation in New York of Galbraith’s removal followed his emailed denial earlier in the day that he had been sacked. Within hours of the news, a member of the UN’s political affairs unit had resigned. Others are likely to follow among the diplomats who liked Galbraith personally and backed his tough approach to officials of the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC), who many believe are complicit in attempts to rubber-stamp a Karzai first round victory.”

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Just weeks ago, the Special Representative, Kai Eide had this to say about Afghanistan’s election:

“I am calling today on the IEC and the ECC to redouble their efforts to ensure full rigour in their work at every stage. This includes excluding from the preliminary count results from ballot boxes where there is evidence of irregularities,” he added. The UN Press then proceeds to say that “Mr. Eide, who heads the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), stressed that the integrity of the elections is of the “utmost importance” to Afghanistan and to its international partners.” “I look to both the IEC and ECC to carry out their mandated work to high standards and to ensure that the final outcome faithfully reflects the will of Afghanistan’s voters,” he stated.

Makes you wonder what these words really mean — “full rigour,” “utmost importance,” “integrity,” “high standards,” faithfully,” “will” – if you have a copy of the UNAMA word dictionary, please share. This is darn confusing.

I supposed one could say that in Afghanistan, we must deal with the world as it is (Eide’s way), not the world as we want it to be (Galbraith’s). But if that’s the case — why did the international community bothered spending all that money on an expensive exercise to determine the “will of Afghanistan’s voters?” Counting sheep that has already been rustled by a state-sponsored apparatus seems nothing more than complicit window dressing …

Below is the official statement issued by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General has decided to recall Mr. Peter Galbraith from Afghanistan and to end his appointment as the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

He expresses his thanks to Mr. Galbraith for his hard work and professional dedication. The Secretary-General recognizes Mr. Galbraith’s important contributions to the work of the mission and throughout his distinguished career as an international civil servant. The Secretary-General has made this decision in the best interest of the mission.

He reaffirms his full support for his Special Representative, Kai Eide.

Whoops! It sounds to me like in UNspeak “thanks” is a code word for “get out of here.” I think what we really need is a UN word-action-decoding dictionary.

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Officially In: John F. Tefft to Kyiv

Map from CIA WorldFactbook

On September 30 President Obama announced his intent to nominate career diplomat, John F. Tefft to be the next Ambassador to Ukraine. The WH released the following official bio below:

John F. Tefft has been a career Foreign Service Officer for 37 years. He most recently served as United States Ambassador to the Republic of Georgia from 2005-2009. Prior to that assignment Mr. Tefft served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and was responsible for US relations with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova.


From 2003-2005 Mr. Tefft was the International Affairs Advisor at the National War College in Washington, DC. He served as the United States Ambassador to Lithuania from 2000 to 2003. He was Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Moscow from 1996 to 1999, and served as Charge d’affaires from November 1996 to September 1997. His other Foreign Service assignments include: Jerusalem, Budapest and Rome.

Mr. Tefft holds a Bachelors Degree from Marquette University and a Masters Degree from Georgetown University.

* * *

The United States recognized Ukraine on Dec 26, 1991. Embassy Kiev was established on Jan 23, 1992, with Jon Gundersen as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim. Six US ambassadors had been appointed to Ukraine since its recognition; only one was a non-career appointee. Previous US Ambassadors to Kyiv whose names you might recognize are Carlos Pascual (2000-2003) currently the US Ambassador to Mexico and John E. Herbst (2003-2006) currently head of S/CRS at the State Department.

If confirmed Mr. Tefft would succeed career diplomat, William B. Taylor, Jr. who was appointed US Ambassador to Ukraine in 2006.

Related Item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts 9/30/09

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