Envoy says his removal from Afghanistan sends out a bad signal about the UN

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London, Oct.1 (ANI): The senior UN envoy, who was removed from his post in Afghanistan, has told the BBC that his dismissal has sent out "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 recently held presidential elections.

He said that in not addressing the "extensive" evidence of fraud, the UN had failed to uphold its Afghan mandate.

The UN said Galbraith's dismissal was "in the best interest of the mission".

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 grounds, 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.

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 Eide "did not want this information disseminated".

Galbraith said that when he intervened, President Hamid Karzai complained and Eide "decided he would support Karzai, who would be the beneficiary of the fraudulent ballots".

He said Eide had initially "tended to dismiss the fraud".

"Later, when the evidence of the fraud was inescapable he did talk about it but he's consistently minimised it," he added.

EU election observers have said that about 1.5m votes - about a quarter of all ballots - cast in August's presidential vote could be fraudulent.

Galbraith's questioning of the election commission had angered Karzai and several cabinet members, some of whom had said they no longer wanted to work with him.

But Galbraith said the UN had "the mandate to support free, fair and transparent elections".

"That unfortunately imposed on us an obligation to raise the question of fraud in elections which were funded by the international community and supported by the United Nations," he said. (ANI)

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