Galbraith Ally Resigns From U.N. Mission in Afghanistan
More fallout from U.S. Ambassador Peter Galbraith’s abrupt firing from the United Nations mission in Afghanistan. U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq confirms that an aide to the mission’s political-affairs section, which Galbraith headed before being fired yesterday over protesting what he saw as U.N. acquiescence to election fraud in Afghanistan, has resigned in solidarity.
Haq said he was “aware of one person” who has resigned because of Galbraith’s firing, but said he did not yet know the resignee’s identity. Rumors are swirling that as many as five staffers for the mission, known as UNAMA, have either already resigned or are going to resign. “It’s early days,” Haq added. “I have no idea if people are disgruntled. I’m not aware of any mass resignations.”
While Haq declined to judge whether UNAMA’s credibility has been called into question, he said that the Galbraith fiasco comes “exactly at the wrong time,” as UNAMA is “pushing” on the “question of fraud” in the Afghan presidential election. (Galbraith had said his boss, UNAMA chief Kai Eide was “seemingly indifferent” to allegations that fraudulent ballots provided President Hamid Karzai’s with a margin of victory substantial enough to preclude a second round of runoff voting.) “Despite his idealism, Galbraith takes the focus away from that,” Haq said.
[Update: I shouldn't have written that Galbraith "loudly" protested anything. He registered his disagreements privately with Eide, and it was UNAMA that made them public. That turned out to be too loud for Eide, but still -- poor choice of adverb.]