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Galbraith says former boss must also go -

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ELEANOR HALL: The senior UN official who was sacked over his disagreements with the UN head of
mission says he is not surprised by Mr Eide's admission today. Peter Galbraith says the UN's
reputation has been damaged by its approach to the fraud allegations.

But he is adamant that it is not his letter that undermined confidence in the UN but the actions of
the UN head of mission who he says is no longer seen as neutral by the Afghan people and should go.

Peter Galbraith spoke to me from London a short time ago.

Peter Galbraith, what is your reaction to your former boss Kai Eide's admission today that the
Afghan election was marred by what he called "widespread fraud"?

PETER GALBRAITH: Well, I am glad that seven weeks after the even he has recognised the reality that
the staff of UNAMA (United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan) knew based on reporting that
he himself authorised on the 20th of August, the day of the elections.

ELEANOR HALL: Why do you think Mr Eide has spoken out now?

PETER GALBRAITH: Because the fraud is so evident and because the Election Complaints Commission has
found widespread fraud and likely will rule that there will be a run-off.

ELEANOR HALL: Mr Eide though refutes your allegation that he concealed election fraud. He says he
wasn't asking UN staff not to report fraud but that the allegations were second or third hand and
therefore not credible.

PETER GALBRAITH: That is really surprising since these not credible allegations turn out to be
completely true as Mr Eide is admitting seven weeks after the event.

ELEANOR HALL: What do you say to his defence there then? That he wasn't asking the staff not to
report the fraud?

PETER GALBRAITH: No. I mean the staff know, I know that he told us not to turn over any of the data
that we collected to the Election Complaints Commission. He ordered me not to discuss turnout
figures with the ambassadors in Kabul and that includes representatives from all the countries that
have an interest in Afghanistan, including Australia.

ELEANOR HALL: The Election Complaints Commission is due to deliver its report in a matter of days.
Now you have cast some doubt on the independence of the Election Commission itself. Do you have
confidence in the Election Complaints Commission in its capacity to report on this?

PETER GALBRAITH: These are two different bodies. The Independent Election Commission is a
seven-member body. All of its members appointed by President Karzai and at every stage in the
process they made decisions that were favourable to President Karzai. The Election Complaints
Commission is a body set up under Afghan law but which has three of its five members appointed by
the United Nations.

I know the members and I have great confidence in them. The trouble is that they have to have
compelling evidence of fraud and that may not be possible in every case. The process that is
underway to do a sample is as good as you can get under these circumstances.

For reasons of weather a run-off, if it is going to be held, has to be held in the next few weeks
and if you did a complete re-count, this would put off the run-off, the run-off until next spring
or summer and the political crisis in Afghanistan would continue.

ELEANOR HALL: Do you accept that the publication of your letter of complaint has undermined
international confidence in the UN?

PETER GALBRAITH: Absolutely not. It was the head of the UN mission, Kai Eide's failure to support
an investigation into the fraud. His failure to take, to support steps that might have prevented
the fraud and his failure to stand up to the Independent Election Commission when it was blatantly
changing its procedures. It is those acts that have undermined international confidence in the UN
and for that matter, undermined Afghan confidence in the UN. It is not my exposing or writing a
letter about those facts. It is the facts themselves that did the damage.

ELEANOR HALL: Do you think Mr Eide should remain in his job?

PETER GALBRAITH: I think that is going to be extremely difficult. He has lost the confidence of a
large part of the Afghan population. Certainly those who supported candidates other than President
Karzai have no confidence in his neutrality or independence.

ELEANOR HALL: He does have the confidence though of Ban Ki-moon.

PETER GALBRAITH: Yes, and as long as he has the confidence of Ban Ki-moon he can stay in his job
but I suspect the Secretary-General will consider the circumstances as they are on the ground in
Afghanistan.

ELEANOR HALL: Do you think it would have been better in the scheme of things if your allegations
had not been made public until the Election Complaints Commission was able to deliver its report?

PETER GALBRAITH: No. I think, in fact, I think the, although it was not my intention that my
allegations or the allegations contained in the letter become public. I think that the ensuing
controversy has in fact, helped ensure that there is a process that is going to be thorough and
will look at the fraud and it has helped prepare both Afghans and the international community for a
run-off and perhaps most importantly, assuming there is a run-off, I hope it will encourage the
head of the UN mission to take steps to correct the problems that led to the fraud in the first
round.

ELEANOR HALL: How critical is it for the whole international mission in Afghanistan that there be a
government in place that is acknowledged to be freely and fairly elected?

PETER GALBRAITH: It is absolutely critical. President Obama counter insurgency strategy which has
been supported by the United Nations cannot work unless there is a credible Afghan partner and an
Afghan president who is in office and circumstances of such widespread fraud is not going to be
seen as credible by a significant segment of the Afghan people.

ELEANOR HALL: So do you think there are any circumstances in which the incumbent Hamid Karzai could
stay in power and retain the confidence of the Afghan people?

PETER GALBRAITH: Given the high level of fraud, I don't think, I think it will be very difficult
for him to gain credibility among the people who voted for other candidates if in fact he emerges
above 50 per cent as a result of this election complaints process.

ELEANOR HALL: So what do you fear could be the consequences if the international community does end
up endorsing Mr Karzai?

PETER GALBRAITH: Well, I think it depends on the circumstances. If there is a run-off and if the
run-off is done much better than the first round and if Hamid Karzai emerges as the winner, then I
think the international community obviously should endorse him and recognise him as the president
of Afghanistan.

I think he is still going to have a hard sell with a large part of his own people who saw the fraud
that was orchestrated on his behalf and it will be a hard sell with publics in the
troop-contributing countries. But if the second round is as fraudulent as the first round or even
half as fraudulent then we will be in a real mess.

ELEANOR HALL: And what do you think is the likelihood that it won't be as fraudulent?

PETER GALBRAITH: I think it is going to be difficult. Several things have to happen. First these
ghost polling stations have to be closed down. These were polling stations that existed on a map
but which in fact never opened but they reported large numbers of votes.

This was something I tried to close down in advance of the first round. I was blocked by Kai Eide
and the second thing they'll have to happen is that the staff of these so-called Independent
Election Commission will have to be fired in every place that there was fraud and finally the IEC
itself, ideally the commissioner should be replaced.

ELEANOR HALL: Do you think all this can be done in the limited timeframe that you've set out?

PETER GALBRAITH: It is going to be very difficult but we don't have much alternative.

ELEANOR HALL: If it is not done?

PETER GALBRAITH: Oh, terrible. I think if we have another election characterised by widespread
fraud, it is going to be a catastrophe for the international military mission for everything that
we have been trying to accomplish in Afghanistan.

ELEANOR HALL: Peter Galbraith, thanks very much for joining us.

PETER GALBRAITH: Well, very good talking to you.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Peter Galbraith, the former deputy to the UN head of mission in Afghanistan.