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I was ordered to cover up President Karzai election fraud, sacked UN envoy says
10-05-2009, 07:15 AM,
I was ordered to cover up President Karzai election fraud, sacked UN envoy says
Quote:The head of the UN mission in Afghanistan has been accused by his former deputy of ordering a systematic cover-up to conceal the extent of electoral fraud by President Karzai.

In an attack on the role of the UN in the elections on August 20, Peter Galbraith, who was sacked as Deputy Special Representative to the UN mission in Kabul last week, says that Kai Eide ordered him not to reveal evidence of fraud or to pass it to the authorities.

As a result, he said, the elections had handed the Taleban “its greatest strategic victory in eight years of fighting the United States and its Afghan partners”.

He says that the UN collected evidence that a third of Mr Karzai’s votes were fraudulent. If the claim was found to be true it would push Mr Karzai below the 54 per cent that the preliminary election results give him, necessitating a second round of voting.

The attack by Mr Galbraith seems timed to counter indications that the US Government and international community have accepted the official verdict of the Afghan authorities and, with it, a Karzai Administration.

Mr Galbraith said that Mr Eide ordered him not to pursue concerns that he expressed before the elections that the Afghan President would use polling stations in unstable areas to conduct fraud.

“At other critical stages in the election process,” he wrote in The Washington Post, “I was similarly ordered not to pursue the issue of fraud.

“My staff collected evidence on hundreds of cases of fraud around the country and, more important, gathered information on turnout in key southern provinces where few voters showed up but large numbers of votes were being reported. Eide ordered us not to share this data with anyone, including the Electoral Complaints Commission, a UN-backed Afghan institution legally mandated to investigate fraud.”

Since Mr Galbraith was dismissed at least five of his colleagues at the UN Afghan mission have resigned.

Mr Galbraith challenged claims made by Mr Eide that the UN was not mandated to interfere in the Afghan electoral process.

He wrote: “The UN Security Council directed the UN mission to support Afghanistan’s electoral institutions in holding a ‘free, fair and transparent’ vote, not a fraudulent one.

“And with so much at stake — and with more than 100,000 US and coalition troops deployed in the country — the international community had an obvious interest in ensuring that Afghanistan’s election did not make the situation worse.”

He also warned of renewed inter-ethnic division because of anger over the failure to deal with the alleged fraud.

A spokesman for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) denied the claims. Dan McNorton said: “UNAMA has not, does not and will not turn a blind eye to fraud. Throughout this election the UN has insisted on a rigorous adherence to the election processes. Our neutrality will be paramount at all stages.”;attr=797093
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