'Weirdo' Karzai could bring civil war: sacked UN envoy
A former UN envoy has appealed for action to stop Afghanistan's parliamentary elections later this year, charging that President Hamid Karzai could trigger civil war through vote-rigging.world Updated: May 18, 2010 12:36 IST
A former UN envoy has appealed for action to stop Afghanistan's parliamentary elections later this year, charging that President Hamid Karzai could trigger civil war through vote-rigging.
Peter Galbraith -- a vocal critic of Karzai, whom he described as a "weirdo" -- also said the United States and its allies should consider sharply reducing troop levels as it lacked a credible partner in Kabul.
The United Nations fired Galbraith last year as number two in its Afghan mission after he accused Karzai's forces of ballot-stuffing in presidential elections, although a UN watchdog later released similar findings.
Galbraith warned of a "looming train wreck" in September's elections for parliament, which has provided an outlet for Karzai's opponents and members of ethnic groups other than the Afghan president's Pashtuns.
"As bad as it is, the situation in Afghanistan is going to get immeasurably worse in September unless something is done to stop the parliamentary elections," Galbraith told a forum in Washington.
"What is a certain result of all this is increased chaos in Afghanistan, and what is a very possible result is civil war between the Pashtuns and the other groups," he said.
Galbraith, a former US ambassador to Croatia, urged Congress to use its power as funder of the election to stop the vote without strict conditions including removing Karzai appointees from the Independent Election Commission.
The election was already delayed in January due to lack of funding. The vote as initially set for this Saturday.
"More Americans will die as a result of fraudulent parliamentary elections. The military mission will become more difficult, to have our troops in the middle of a civil war," Galbraith said.
President Barack Obama last year ordered a surge of 30,000 more troops to fight insurgents, hoping to pave the way for an exit from the nation where the United States overthrew the Taliban after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Obama last week gave Karzai a red-carpet welcome at the White House, in a choreographed show of unity after the Afghan leader made a series of strident remarks criticizing the West.