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Top US Official at UN Afghan Mission  Will Not Return to Post


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U.N. officials say the top American serving in the U.N. mission to Afghanistan will not return to his post, following a dispute over how to handle fraud allegations in the country's disputed presidential election.

Officials who requested not to be named told reporters that Peter Galbraith angered superiors at the U.N. mission in Afghanistan by taking a publicly aggressive stance against widespread fraud in the August 20 election. The top U.N. envoy in Afghanistan, Norwegian Kai Eide, preferred to operate behind the scenes.

The U.N. has not made an official announcement regarding Galbraith's status, but in an e-mail to the BBC, Galbraith said he has not been fired as far as he knows.

Galbraith left Kabul to return to the United States on September 13. U.N. officials downplayed his departure and said they expected him to return soon.

Afghan election officials are recounting a sample of the votes from the disputed election in an effort to resolve weeks of uncertainty about the outcome.

Preliminary election results show President Hamid Karzai winning with 54 percent of the vote. If enough ballots are invalidated, the incumbent could dip below the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff with his main rival, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.