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.

Ban Ki-moon - World Economic Forum Annual Meet...Image by World Economic Forum via Flickr

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.”

Hamid Karzai - World Economic Forum Annual Mee...Image by World Economic Forum via Flickr

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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