Afghanistan: Elections and the Crisis of Governance

International Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°96, 25 November 2009.


The electoral fraud was a direct consequence of failure to build the capacity of government institutions. Since the 2004 presidential vote, the international community – UNAMA in particular – repeatedly turned a blind eye to the looming crisis of credibility rooted in an unsound process. The August vote laid bare disagreements between different international actors and within the new American administration, whose lack of clear policy in Kabul undermined their ability to press for necessary changes ahead of the elections. The polls severely damaged UNAMA’s ability to function effectively, weakening its internal morale and sharply eroding Afghan confidence in Kai Eide, the Special Representative of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (SRSG). The UN’s mission to bring stability to the country has been severely jeopardised. His effectiveness as head of mission will always remain in doubt. If UNAMA’s credibility is to be restored, Eide must step down.

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