Eide prevails in Afghanistan conflict

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Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide, the United Nations’ special envoy to Afghanistan, seems to have prevailed in a conflict he had with his deputy, Peter Galbraith of the US. Eide also has called upon European countries, including Norway, to contribute more to the fight against the Taliban.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre got it right when he told newspaper Aftenposten earlier this week that “the UN’s operations in Afghanistan have only one boss. His name is Kai Eide (photo) .”

The next day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon confirmed that Galbraith, the US’ top diplomat in Afghanistan, would not be returning to Kabul. Galbraith left last month following an argument with Eide over how best to handle problems with the recent Afghan election.

While Eide thus seem to have won UN support in that conflict, western allies are not winning the war against the Taliban. In a report to the UN Security Council, Eide asked for more troop support from European countries, noting that the strength of NATO forces can’t be the responsibility of the US alone.

The commander of both the NATO and US forces in Afghanistan has asked for 30,000-40,000 more soldiers. Eide stressed that he didn’t want to interfere in a US debate over whether to send more troops, but added he thinks the other countries involved in the war against the Taliban should send more troops and funds.

“Norway is among the countries that could contribute more,” Eide told Aftenposten . The issue is, however, as controversial in Norway as it is in the US, and Støre said the Norwegian government has no plans to send more troops.

Norway currently has about 500 soldiers in Afghanistan and has been part of the NATO force since the war began.

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