Karzai stalls; Eide, Galbraith duke it out

Dec. 17, 2009 at 5:55 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Washington is moving forward with "very close consultations" with Kabul ahead of a Cabinet announcement as the U.N. spat in Afghanistan intensifies.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced this week his decision to delay unveiling his list of Cabinet ministers to Saturday.

Ian Kelly, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, downplayed any potential problem with the delay but stressed Washington is watching the situation closely.

"We are carrying on (with) very close consultations with Hamid Karzai and his advisers as he goes forward in forming a new government," he said.

Karzai is under close international scrutiny due to allegations of corruption and his ties to widespread fraud in the August presidential contest that brought him a second term.

Meanwhile, Peter Galbraith, the former deputy head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, is accused by his former boss, departing UNAMA chief Kai Eide, of urging Washington to replace Karzai with former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani or former Interior Minister Ali Jalili, London's Telegraph newspaper reports.

The conflict between Eide and Galbraith has become very public as the former deputy chief accused the outgoing Eide of playing a role in the fraud that tarnished the August race.

Galbraith was removed from his post following the accusations. Eide, meanwhile, announced he would step down from his position, something his former deputy said is not a voluntary move.

Galbraith in the latest fracas said the Ghani allegations are "false" and part of a campaign to destroy his reputation.

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