An American journalist, Nicholas Schmidle, who authored the article "Next Gen Taliban" that appeared in Sunday's New York Times Magazine has been deported from Pakistan. He was forced to leave today -- Friday, 11 January.
Schmidle will be returning to Washington, DC on Saturday and will be joining a panel I am moderating Monday afternoon titled "Pakistan in Peril" featuring veteran journalists and Pakistan-watchers Steve Coll and Peter Bergen as well as former Bush administration National Security Council senior official Flynt Leverett. Nicholas Schmidle will now be part of this panel.
Schmidle was informed that the Ministry of Interior was deporting him for unspecified reasons, but his speculation is that he was expelled because of his article which The Washington Note highlighted on Wednesday, 2 January -- before it came out on Sunday.
These are the latest dispatches that Schmidle has published in Slate.
Other journalists I have spoken to today tell me that there is a pattern of intimidation of journalists clearly emerging in Pakistan. While this may be the first deportation of an American journalist that most can recall, there have been other troubling incidents.
New America Foundation fellow and journalist Eliza Griswold was apparently held in custody by Pakistan authorities on one occasion. CNN Terrorism Analyst and New America Foundation senior fellow Peter Bergen was denied a visa on one occasion in 2006 with no explanation given. Nir Rosen -- also a New America Foundation fellow who has reported extensively on Middle East affairs -- was threatened in Quetta, Pakistan by what some believe to be government "goons" and was told that he needed to leave immediately or he would be "the next Danny Pearl." New York Times correspondent Carlotta Gall was beaten by thugs who identified themselves as Pakistani police.
Some believe that Schmidle's article antogonized Pakistani government officials because he conducted interviews in Quetta where the Taliban are operating in full public. These sources suggest that Pakistan government authorities want to limit exposure to the fact that they have done nothing to shut down the Taliban in Quetta and/or are turning a blind eye to the Taliban's operations theres.
For those in the Washington, DC area -- the event I will be moderating with Schmidle, Coll, Bergen, and Leverett will be from 2:30 pm til 4:00 pm on Monday, 14 January at the offices of the New America Foundation. A video clip will be posted later to the New America Foundation website.
-- Steve Clemons publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note