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2 Oct, 2009 00:54

Official fired for suggesting UN election bias in Afghanistan

A high-ranking US diplomat to the UN mission in Afghanistan has been fired after he wrote a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon saying his boss was concealing presidential election fraud to benefit Hamid Karzai.

The official, Peter Galbraith, alleged that the top UN envoy in Afghanistan had conspired to conceal the extent of fraud in the August 20 election, the outcome of which remains unclear due to the fraud charges and a pending partial recount, reports the Associated Press.

Galbraith also said that the top UN envoy to Afghanistan, Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide, prevented him and other UN officials from taking effective action during the election “that might have limited the fraud or enabled the Afghan electoral institutions to address it more effectively.”

Galbraith lost his job after making those allegations.

Meanwhile, a group of Afghan lawmakers want a criminal investigation into the alleged fraud.

The new scandal could undermine the UN’s credibility in Afghanistan, as well as that of the US, which is currently reviewing its strategy in the country.

Afghanistan remains in a fragile state following the scandal-tainted presidential election. As the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission reviews the election results alongside with the Independent Election Commission, this new twist is unlikely to speed up the process.