Taliban Talks Ascribed to Ambition to Lead UN, India Critical,
Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive
NATIONS, March 23 -- Why did former UN envoy to Afghanistan Kai Eide
start publicly bragging that he spoke with the Taliban? Inner City
Press sought answers this week, officially
from the UN, then from
diplomats from India, Pakistan and Ban Ki-moon's own office.
last of these
had the most cynical or realistic explanation. In short, Kai Eide
dreams of being UN Secretary General. The theory from the third floor
of the UN's new building is that after Ban and the Asia Group, Europe
is up next. Russia will block Eastern Europe, so Western Europe with
his its last chance.
-- here this week for Water -- and Carl Bildt, candidates include
both Kai Eide and his successor in Kabul, Staffan de Mistura. The
senior Ban advisor said that in case de Mistura talks with Taliban
and peace results, Eide wants it in the record that he began the
Kai Edie and UN's Ban: the former wants the latter's job?
on the other
hand told Inner City Press that the UN should not speak with the
Taliban. Pakistan, on its national day, was more cagey,
characterizing Kai Eide's going public as "sad." And then
the hammer blow from the third floor of the new building, the kiss of
UN death to Eide. How do they like Galbraith now?
* * *
Eide Spoke with Taliban, then Holbrooke, But UN Claims No Instructions
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 22 -- The UN distanced itself Monday from its former
envoy Kai Eide's talks with the Taliban. "At no time was Kai
Eide instructed to speak to the Taliban," UN spokesman Martin
Nesirky read out, in response to a question from Inner City Press.
from Minute 24.
Holbrooke has said that Kai Eide told the US about his
talks with the Taliban, it is hard to believe that Kai Eide did not
simultaneously or before tell UN Headquarters about his talks. So for
the UN spokesman to carefully said that Eide was never "instructed
to speak to the Taliban" misses the point, intentionally.
Eide told UN
Headquarters and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about his talks with
the Taliban, and they and he were allowed to continue, that was
consent. Why not own up to it?
UN's Ban and Eide (with Kouchner), talks with
Taliban not shown
on March 18,
Inner City Press asked the head of UN Peacekeeping, Alain Leroy,
about Hamid Karzai's anger at Pakistan for targeting "moderate"
Taliban who could be spoken with. "I don't have to comment,"
Leroy responded. Video
here, from Minute 5:29.
refused at Monday's noon briefing to answer a related questions about
the UN in Afghanistan, triggered by a quote
from the UN spokesperson
in Kabul Susan Manuel that in Kandahar, there "has been a
temporary reduction" of UN staff. “We’re trying to determine
the profile of the staff, or who needs to be there doing what.”
UN and Nesirky
often deflect questions by saying that the UN does not speak or wish
to see stories about the movements of its staff or other "security"
matters. But here, the UN has spoken openly about pulling staff out
of the way of an impending military engagement. Watch this site.
UN Footnote: Eide's
former deputy and nemesis Peter Galbraith has scoffed
at Eide's claims. The UN, at least on background, continues to
scoff at him, most recently in connection with a briefing
about the upcoming elections in Sudan. Most people understand
elections can't be perfect, one senior UN official told Inner City
Press. "Except Peter Galbraith." The status of Galbraith's claim of
retaliation by the UN is not known. Watch this site.