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WashPost: What I Saw at the Afghan Election

Author: Peter W. Galbraith
October 4, 2009

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Peter Galbraith exposes his side of the Afghan electoral fraud story, and comments on his perceptions of the real reasons behind his termination from the post of UN deputy special representative in Afghanistan last week.

Before firing me last week from my post as his deputy special representative in Afghanistan, 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. Nonetheless, I agreed.

As my differences with my boss, Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide, had already been well publicized (through no fault of either of us), I asked only that the statement announcing my dismissal reflect the real reasons. Alain LeRoy, the head of U.N. peacekeeping and my immediate superior in New York, proposed that the United Nations say I was being recalled over a "disagreement as to how the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) would respond to electoral fraud." Although this was not entirely accurate -- the dispute was really about whether the U.N. mission would respond to the massive electoral fraud -- I agreed.

Instead, the United Nations announced my recall as occurring "in the best interests of the mission," and U.N. press officials told reporters on background that my firing was necessitated by a "personality clash" with Eide, a friend of 15 years who had introduced me to my future wife.

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