Issue 134 - March 19 - New Deputy Special Representative in Afghanistan

New York, March 19, 2010 - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Martin Kobler of Germany as the new Deputy Special Representative (DSRSG) for political affairs in Afghanistan.

Kobler succeeds former Deputy Special Representative Peter Galbraith, whose controversial exit from the post occurred in late September 2009, when he was fired following a "fundamental...dispute" over the UN's role in Afghanistan's fraudulent presidential election in August 2009, which Galbraith was responsible for monitoring. Galbraith alleged that the head of the UN's mission, Kai Eide, tried to conceal the fraud, in favor of Afghan President Hamid Karzai (See Monitor, Issue 112 - Ban Ki-moon Recalls Deputy SRSG from Afghanistan).

Martin Kobler is expected to arrive in Afghanistan to begin his appointment in early April.

About the Post

The DSRSG role is one of the three highest-ranking positions in the UN's Afghanistan mission.

Kobler will be responsible for "political issues, including electoral and parliamentary matters, as well as questions relating to peace and stability, security-sector reform and human rights," at the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Newly appointed UN Special Representative to Afghanistan Staffan de Mistura is responsible for the overall UN mission in Afghanistan and has direct authority over its more than 1,000 staff members, including two Deputy SRSGs.

The other Deputy SRSG, Robert Watkins, oversees UNAMA's relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts.

About Martin Kobler

Kobler began his career in Germany's Auswärtiges Amt (Foreign Office) in 1983, after having studied law and Asian philology (focusing on Indonesian studies) at Hochrhein-Gymnasium Waldshut, and Pajajaran University in Bandung, Indonesia. He speaks English, French, German, Indonesian and Arabic.

With the Foreign Ministry, Kobler served as a diplomat in Cairo, New Dehli, and the Balkans and was posted as an election observer in Haiti, Cambodia and Nicaragua. From 1997 to 1998, he was the Deputy Head of the German Foreign Ministry's Balkan Task Force, and went on to serve as a Deputy Chief of Cabinet from 1998 to 2000, and later (2000 to 2003) Chief of Cabinet under Germany's former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. 

Kobler served as Ambassador to Iraq and Egypt from 2003 to 2007 and most recently was Germany's Director-General for Culture and Communication.


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