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Galbraith: Eide was fired

Kai Eide, the top U.N. official in Afghanistan, was forcibly removed and did not resign voluntarily as he claims, according to his former deputy and "frenemy," Peter Galbraith. "This was involuntary and inevitable, ever since the end of September," said Galbraith in an interview with The Cable. Relaying information from his discussions with U.N. staff ...

Kai Eide, the top U.N. official in Afghanistan, was forcibly removed and did not resign voluntarily as he claims, according to his former deputy and "frenemy," Peter Galbraith.

"This was involuntary and inevitable, ever since the end of September," said Galbraith in an interview with The Cable.

Relaying information from his discussions with U.N. staff on the ground in Kabul, Galbraith said that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has made it clear that he wants to announce Eide's successor during January's London conference on Afghanistan.

Kai Eide, the top U.N. official in Afghanistan, was forcibly removed and did not resign voluntarily as he claims, according to his former deputy and "frenemy," Peter Galbraith.

"This was involuntary and inevitable, ever since the end of September," said Galbraith in an interview with The Cable.

Relaying information from his discussions with U.N. staff on the ground in Kabul, Galbraith said that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has made it clear that he wants to announce Eide’s successor during January’s London conference on Afghanistan.

Galbraith clearly has an axe to grind: Eide was instrumental in getting Galbraith fired from his post as second in command at the U.N. mission in Kabul earlier this year. The two formerly close friends had a very public dispute about the U.N.’s role in preventing and monitoring the massive fraud in the recent election of President Hamid Karzai.

"Kai’s problem was that he valued his relationship with Karzai above all else, including having honest elections," Galbraith said. "He was so discredited by the way he handed the election and the fallout from engineering my ouster. He cut his own throat."

Moreover, Galbraith said that several senior staffers fled the U.N. mission in Kabul as a result of the election controversy. He also accused Eide of mishandling the security situation in Kabul, a serious charge considering that attacks there led to several deaths of U.N. staffers.

"I don’t think he took all the precautions that he could have," said Galbraith without elaborating further.

Galbraith predicted that Eide would be replaced by Swedish diplomat Staffan de Mistura, who has served as the special representative for the U.N. secretary-general in Iraq.

"I don’t think he has any relationship with President Karzai," Galbraith said of the Swede, "which will be good."

In Galbraith’s view, the new U.N. leadership in Kabul will have a tough time rebuilding Afghan confidence in the United Nations, and the Obama administration will have a tough time fulfilling its pledge to push Karzai toward more accountability.

"There has to be a harder line, but the problem is it’s still Karzai and he’s been demonstrably ineffective at combating corruption," he said. "It’s difficult to see how a harder line will fix that."

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin

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