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Archive for Saturday, December 12, 2009

Top U.N. official in Afghanistan to leave

December 12, 2009

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— The top U.N. official in Afghanistan said Friday he will step down early next year after a rocky two-year tenure marked by a fraud-marred national election and a deadly Taliban attack on U.N. employees.

The departure of Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide provides an opportunity to restructure the civilian side of the international mission as the Obama administration’s military strategy kicks into gear.

The 60-year-old Eide, who oversees the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, said he will not renew his contract when it expires in March. He said he has asked U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to start searching for a replacement so the post would not be vacant like it was for two months before he started.

Eide’s stewardship was tarnished by allegations from his American deputy, Peter Galbraith, that he was not bullish enough in curbing fraud in the August presidential election. President Hamid Karzai was declared the winner three months later after his last remaining challenger dropped out of a runoff.

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