The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Who Wants to Be UN Chief in Afghanistan?

Last updated: July 31, 2020 | December 21, 2009 | Anita Barnes

After the August electoral impasse destroyed the partnership of Kai Eide and Peter Galbraith, the United Nations’ top diplomats in Afghanistan, it’s been unclear who wants to step into the morass that is the UN mission to Kabul. But Laura Rozen has some answers:

Word on the Hill and at European embassies today is that the top contender for the job and Washington’s first choice is veteran Swedish diplomat Staffan di Mistura, who has served as UN Special Representative of the Secretary General to Iraq since 2007, and previously as UN SRSG to Southern Lebanon, and head of the World Food Program in Italy, among other jobs. Among his other experience leading UN missions in post-conflict  zones where the US has tens of thousands of boots on the ground, di Mistura also speaks half the languages of the NATO alliance, as well as Arabic.

“Di Mistura is the U.S. preference,” one Hill source says. “He was the SRSG in Iraq, he’s Swedish, before Iraq he was in [the World Food Program. Well known official."

It'll be interesting to see what di Mistura -- or whoever the next UN Afghanistan chief turns out to be -- thinks of a current NATO proposal to create a sort of chief civilian to coordinate the non-military end of NATO's mission. For instance:

[A]dministration officials and NATO allies are in discussion to determine if a mechanism can be created to bring greater coherence to the efforts of Afghan, U.S., allied and other civilian assistance to the Afghan people for development and governance — a sort of civilian counterpart to McChrystal’s command of all U.S. and NATO forces. The idea is not new, but the Obama administration has given it renewed emphasis, said a senior European diplomat, although the precise structure of that mechanism has yet to be determined. “This has been discussed entirely within the context of the strategic theme of turning responsibility over to the Afghans,” the diplomat said.

That person would necessarily work closely with the UN mission.

Anita Barnes | With over twenty years of professional experience in the design industry, I'm a web designer and front-end web developer. As a small business owner, I am familiar with the difficulties that come with running a business. One of those challenges is creating a strong online presence. One that not only represents your ever-changing brand and personality, but also appeals to your target audience. Throughout my web design career, I've built a distinct design style that emphasizes attention to detail. I assume that less is enough when it comes to design. You don't have to have all the bells and whistles only because you can. It's critical to figure out which elements are essential for getting your message through to your customers – and which ones are unnecessary. I'll assist you in sorting through the choices to see what works best for you.


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