Afghanistan Gives NYT Reporter 24 Hours To Leave Country

(Reuters) -

Afghanistan has given a New York Times reporter 24 hours to leave the country, accusing him of not cooperating with an investigation into his reporting, the Attorney General’s office said on Wednesday.

Matthew Rosenberg, 40, was summoned for questioning on Tuesday after the newspaper ran a story about officials discussing plans to form an interim government and “seize power” if a deadlock over the presidential election failed to break soon.

“Due to the lack of proper accountability and non-cooperation, the Attorney General’s office has decided that Matthew Rosenberg should leave Afghanistan within 24 hours,” the office said in a statement. “He will not be permitted to enter the country again.”

Rosenberg said he and his newspaper had been cooperating fully.

“We simply requested a lawyer as is our right under Afghan law,” he said. “We were also never informed of a formal investigation and we do not understand how insisting on the right to a lawyer is not cooperating.”

Afghanistan is in the midst of a ballot that has dragged on for months, with both candidates claiming victory after the June 14 run-off and allegations of mass fraud threatening to derail the process.

“They had brought us there under the guise of a kind of semi-informal chat,” Rosenberg said of the talks. “It was kind of polite but insistent that we give them the names of our sources.”