U.S. diplomat ordered out of Afghanistan

Sept. 15, 2009 at 10:38 AM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. diplomat Peter Galbraith, a member of the U.N. mission in Afghanistan, has been ordered out the country by his boss, sources say.

Citing unnamed diplomatic sources, The Times of London reported Tuesday that an argument between Galbraith and Norwegian Kai Eide, who heads the U.N. mission to Kabul, resulted in Galbraith's being banned and has sparked a diplomatic row over how the United Nations is dealing with allegations of election fraud in Afghanistan.

The newspaper said Galbraith left the country Sunday after directing tough questions about fraud in the Aug. 20 presidential election to the U.N.-backed Independent Election Commission. That reportedly angered Eide, who has insisted on a softer approach.

"The relationship between Kai and Peter has completely broken down," an unnamed diplomat in Kabul told The Times.

The alleged argument illustrates differences within the international community over how to address allegations by challengers that President Hamid Karzai engaged in systematic electoral fraud to gain re-election. The Times said Galbraith wants the election commission to toss out results from 1,000 of the country's 6,500 polling stations and recount 5,000 others, while Eide is reportedly seeking recounts for 1,000 stations.

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