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Afghanistan bars NYT reporter from leaving country

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 19, 2014 at 1:09 pm •  Published: August 19, 2014

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's attorney general has barred a New York Times correspondent from leaving the country because of a story in which he reported that a group of officials were considering seizing power because of the impasse over who won the recent presidential election, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Basir Azizi, a spokesman for the attorney general, said Matthew Rosenberg's Aug. 18 story was "against the law and national interests of Afghanistan." Azizi said Rosenberg was asked to come to the attorney general's office on Wednesday with his lawyer.

The head of the Kabul International Airport confirmed the attorney general sent a letter saying Rosenberg couldn't leave the country. "We are implementing that order," Agh Nawaz Ahaqyar said.

Afghanistan held presidential elections on April 6 to elect a successor to Hamid Karzai. A runoff followed on June 14 between former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. Abdullah had received the most votes in the first round but failed to clear the 50 percent barrier needed to win outright. Preliminary results indicated that Ahmadzai was ahead in the runoff but both men claimed fraud. The results are now being audited.

The crisis has tested Afghanistan's fragile democracy and threatened to incite violence at a time when the country is struggling with a rising insurgency and a troubled economy.

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