The senior UN envoy removed from his post in Afghanistan has told the BBC his dismissal sent “a terrible signal” to the world about the organisation. Peter Galbraith said he believed he had been removed because of a dispute with his superior over how to handle fraud allegations in the country’s elections. He said that in not addressing the “extensive” evidence of fraud, the UN had failed its Afghan mandate. The UN said his dismissal had been “in the best interest of the mission”.
Mr Galbraith told BBC’s World Tonight that he had great respect for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, but that he disagreed with his decision to remove him from his post. “Not just on personal ground, but because I think it sends a terrible signal when the UN removes an official because he was concerned about fraud in a UN-sponsored and funded election,” he said. Mr Galbraith said he had seen “very extensive evidence of fraud” in August’s president elections and had had “a sharp disagreement” with his superior, Kai Eide, about how to address it. He wanted to present the evidence to the Afghan Election Complaints Commission for further investigation, he said, but Mr Eide “did not want this information disseminated”.
Mr Galbraith said that when he intervened, President Hamid Karzai complained and Mr Eide “decided he would support Karzai, who would be the beneficiary of the fraudulent ballots”. He said Mr Eide had initially “tended to dismiss the fraud”. “
He didn’t want the UN staff to talk about it, he didn’t want us to discuss issues, for example of turnout, with the ambassadors in Kabul because we knew the turnout was very low in the southern provinces although a very large number of votes were in fact being reported from those areas. “Later, when the evidence of the fraud was inescapable he did talk about it but he’s consistently minimised it,” he said.