Press advocates call for Afghanistan to let Times reporter leave

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Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)
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Press advocates are calling on the government of Afghanistan to allow a New York Times correspondent who'd been reporting there to leave the country.

"We call on Afghan authorities to lift all travel restrictions on Matthew Rosenberg immediately," Robert Mahoney, deputy director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said in a statement. "Denying journalists freedom of movement is nothing more than a form of intimidation at a time when Afghanistan's democracy is most in need of independent political reporting."

Earlier, the Times reported that the Afghan attorney general had called Rosenberg in for questioning over an article and had banned him from leaving the country. The 40-year-old member of the paper's Kabul bureau published a story yesterday reporting that Afghan officials were eyeing a temporary governing committee in the wake of a recent elections impasse. A travel ban was subsequently instituted.

The Times said the incident was "the fourth time this year that the Afghan government has threatened or initiated legal action against [the paper] because of complaints by senior Afghan officials over articles it has published."

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In a separate statment, foreign editor Joe Kahn said the Times is "eager to work with the Afghan authorities to resolve any concerns about the article, which we feel is fair and accurate."