Norwegian envoy to Afghanistan steps down amid criticism

kai-eideNorwegian diplomat Kai Eide, the UN envoy to Afghanistan, will step down from his post at the end of his term in March. Eide has been widely criticised for his overseeing of the highly controversial elections that took place in August that were mired by fraud and alleged corruption. Last week, he was accused of disrespecting the country’s sovereignty after calling for clampdowns on corruption, reports The Norway Post.

Eide assumed his post in 2008 in the wake of spiralling Taliban-led insurgency. He will be leaving just months after post-election bickering which saw him field heavy criticism and his deputy fired. Eide has consistently denied any claims of mismanagement and defended his post by arguing that he is not quitting.

“I’m not resigning. I’m leaving in accordance with the timetable I outlined when I took the job,” Eide told reporters on Norwegian television. “I am sticking to the course that I promised to follow. It is responsible behaviour for me to ask the UN to seek a successor because I do not want to continue for an extra year,” he stated.

Analysts of the Afghanistan situation have argued that Eide’s position has become untenable and that his time had come to leave. Afghanistan is internationally ranked as the second most corrupt and fifth poorest country on earth.

”I see this as the end of his failed mission in Afghanistan,” said political analyst Nasrullah Stanikzai. “He cannot do this job any longer as (President Hamid) Karzai does not accept his recommendations when it comes to the cabinet, the US embassy does not listen to him and he can’t even coordinate his own UN mission,” Stanikzai added.

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