Afghanistan: What went wrong? Who is to blame? What next?

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Peter W. Galbraith served as the first US Ambassador to Croatia. His senior government positions include being Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Afghanistan in 2009 and a Cabinet Member in East Timor’s first Transitional Government in 2000-2001. Ambassador Galbraith holds an A.B. from Harvard College, an M.A. from Oxford University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. He is an honorary fellow at St Catherine’s College, Oxford University, and Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees of the American University of Kurdistan.

In 2009, Ambassador Galbraith was Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in Afghanistan with the rank of Assistant Secretary General. In this role, he took over de facto management of the large UN mission, working to improve efficiency and morale in the Kabul headquarters and in the provincial offices. Galbraith represented the UN mission on the Contact Group and conducted top level negotiations with Pakistan that produced agreements on security and economic cooperation. Ambassador Galbraith oversaw activities related to the UN funded 2009 Afghanistan presidential elections and tried unsuccessfully to prevent the massive fraud in those elections. The ensuing controversy led to Galbraith’s departure from Afghanistan and the resignation of senior members of the UN Mission’s political staff.

Galbraith is the author of the best-selling The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War Without End (2006) and Unintended Consequences: How War in Iraq Strengthened America’s Enemies (2008). He has written twelve widely discussed articles on Iraq for the New York Review of Books and is a regular contributor on the Middle East and South Asia to the op-ed pages of the Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, the Guardian, Time magazine, the Boston Globe, among others. In April 2003, he was an ABC news consultant arriving in Baghdad four days after the first American troops. Galbraith has been a Professor of National Security Strategy at the National War College in Washington, DC. After leaving government in 2003, he set up the Windham Resources Group, which provided negotiating and strategic services to governmental and corporate clients.