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Afghanistan Bars U.S. Reporter From Leaving Country


Afghanistan's attorney general has barred a "New York Times" journalist from leaving the country for reporting that a group of officials were considering seizing power because of the impasse over who won the recent presidential election.

Attorney general spokesman Basir Azizi said Matthew Rosenberg's August 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 August 20 with his lawyer.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said teh United States is "deeply disturbed by the actions of the Afghan attorney general and by this travel ban that has allegedly been put into place."

Harf urged the Afghan government "to respect fundamental freedoms of expression and expression of the press."

An April 6 vote to elect a successor to President Hamid Karzai failed to produce a clear winner and a June runoff triggered allegations of massive fraud.

Candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani eventually signed a joint declaration confirming they would cooperate on forming a unity government after an audit of votes from June's second-round presidential election is completed.

The "New York Times" story said some officials with ties to the security forces were "threatening to seize power" to break the political deadlock.

Based on reporting by AP and "The New York Times"
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