Galbraith, the highest-ranking American in the U.N.'s Afghanistan delegation, was dismissed because of disagreements with his boss, Kai Eide, only a day after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave Galbraith a vote of confidence, two unnamed U.N. officials told The New York Times.
The newspaper said Galbraith and Eide clashed on several different matters, but the disagreements became insurmountable over the issues surrounding the recount of the Aug. 20 Afghanistan presidential election. Amid widespread fraud claims, Galbraith demanded a total recount without success, then reportedly left the country and returned to his farm in Vermont.
Ban and other U.N. officials had been saying Galbraith would return to Kabul.
A spokesman for Afghanistan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah, whose fraud challenges to the votes cast for President Hamid Karzai have thrown the results into doubt, said Galbraith's firing "is the first sign that fraud is victorious over the law."