U.N. Rift Over Afghan Election Fraud?
I don’t know how much credit to give this Times of London story, but it reports in detail that there was a fight between Kai Eide, the head of the United Nations’ mission to Afghanistan, and the seniormost American in the mission, former Ambassador Peter Galbraith, a lion in the human-rights community. Galbraith reportedly left Afghanistan on Sunday after taking a hard line in insisting Afghan election officials needed to annul the results of thousands of disputed polling stations where fraud is suspected and recount results from thousands more. Eide reportedly backed a limited recount. That would have the effect of allowing Hamid Karzai to serve as president for another term under disputed legitimacy.
“The relationship between Kai and Peter has completely broken down,” said a diplomat in Kabul. “Peter has left the country. The official line is that he’s on a three-week mission to New York. But Kai just turned round to Peter and said, ‘I want you out’.”
I’m trying to find out what happened here, but on the surface, it wouldn’t be surprising if Galbraith took the stance attributed to him. As staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the late 1980s, Galbraith doggedly documented, at great personal risk, Saddam Hussein’s genocidal campaign against Iraqi Kurds. As ambassador to Croatia in the 1990s, he worked to end the country’s involvement in the Balkan wars. His advocacy of human rights in Iraq speaks for itself.
Interestingly, Galbraith is reportedly close to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. But Holbrooke’s taken a rather cavalier stance to Afghan election fraud, comparing the reportedly widespread fraud to the Franken-Coleman senate dispute. If Galbraith acted as reported, what impact will it have on Holbrooke’s perspective?