Monday, October 5, 2009

Diplomat Thrown Under the Bus Refuses to Stay Under

Peter Galbraith, the deputy special representative of the United Nations in Afghanistan (UNAMA) until he was thrown under the bus over the Afghan election count refuses to stay under the bus. In a devastating op-ed published in the Washington Post this weekend (Sunday | October 4, 2009), Galbraith writes about the problematic Afghan election that has become ever more complicated with every passing day.

Galbraith writes about his final instruction: “U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon conveyed one last instruction: Do not talk to the press. In effect, I was being told to remain a team player after being thrown off the team.”

Quick excerpt:

"Afghanistan's presidential election, held Aug. 20, should have been a milestone in the country's transition from 30 years of war to stability and democracy. Instead, it was just the opposite. As many as 30 percent of Karzai's votes were fraudulent, and lesser fraud was committed on behalf of other candidates. In several provinces, including Kandahar, four to 10 times as many votes were recorded as voters actually cast. The fraud has handed the Taliban its greatest strategic victory in eight years of fighting the United States and its Afghan partners.

The election was a foreseeable train wreck. Unlike the United Nations-run elections in 2004, this balloting was managed by Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC). Despite its name, the commission is subservient to Karzai, who appointed its seven members. Even so, the international role was extensive. The United States and other Western nations paid the more than $300 million to hold the vote, and U.N. technical staff took the lead in organizing much of the process, including printing ballot papers, distributing election materials and designing safeguards against fraud."

Read the whole thing here. Earlier report says that Ban was persuaded to end Galbraith's mission after ministers in Karzai's government said they could no longer work with him. Holy mother of goat and all her crazy nephews! tension The United Nations should have told those ministers “hell, no, you have to work with him!” Why? Because you give in once, what are you going to give in next? Next thing you’ll know they’d want Tom and Jerry as deputy reps!

But seriously – what if you were an Afghan voter whose finger was chopped off by the Taliban after you voted for a candidate not named Karzai in the August 20 election? How would you feel if the number #2 official in UNAMA was kicked out for speaking out about voter fraud in your country?

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1 comment:

Plantaloons said...

Galbraith has a long reputation for honesty, integrity, and thoughtful politco-strategic insight. In his interview on NPR (PRI?) yesterday, he made clear that Afghan election fraud was much worse than the UN has reported, and that there can be no successful military mission without a legitimate Afghan government. When Galbraith writes that "the stakes are high" (WP op-ed), the stakes include the lives of the American troops there now and the 30-40K McChrystal is requesting, as well as the fate of the Afghan nation. Obama must be listening to Galbraith: He's intent on an approach to Afghanistan that includes diplomatic, political and economic strategies along with military.