New York, August 20, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Afghan government’s decision to expel and ban New York Times correspondent Matthew Rosenberg from the country. The country’s attorney general accused Rosenberg today of publishing a story “considered divisive and contrary to the national interest, security and stability of Afghanistan,” according to the New York Times. Rosenberg was ordered to leave the country within 24 hours. The move would mark the first public expulsion of a Western journalist since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, the report said.
“Afghanistan is setting off down a dangerous road with this expulsion,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “The country’s fledgling democracy needs the transparency and accountability that a free press helps provide. We call on the government to reverse its decision and allow Matthew Rosenberg to report freely from the country.”
The order follows reports on Tuesday that Rosenberg had been barred from leaving the country in connection with his critical reporting. Rosenberg, who splits his time between Kabul and Washington, published a story earlier this week, alleging that a powerful group of Afghan officials were threatening to seize power in the country if the impasse in recent presidential elections was not resolved.