Friday, January 8, 2010

New US State Dept Travel Warning

PAKISTAN

January 07, 2010

"The State Department warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Pakistan. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated June 12, 2009, updates information on security incidents and reminds U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns in Pakistan.

Pakistani military forces have engaged in a campaign against violent extremist elements across many areas of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and parts of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). Terrorists blame the Pakistani and the U.S. governments for the military pressure on their traditional havens and the death of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader- Baitullah Mehsud- in NWFP in August 2009. In response, militants are seeking to increase their attacks on civilian, government, and foreign targets in Pakistan's cities...

Threat reporting indicates terrorist groups continue to seek opportunities to attack locations where Americans and Westerners are known to congregate or visit, such as shopping areas, hotels, clubs and restaurants, places of worship, schools, or outdoor recreation events. In recent incidents, terrorists have disguised themselves as Pakistani security forces personnel to gain access to targeted areas. Some media reports have recently falsely identified U.S. diplomats – and to a lesser extent U.S. journalists and NGO workers – as being intelligence operatives or private security personnel.


Visits by U.S. government personnel to Peshawar and Karachi are limited, and movements by U.S. government personnel assigned to the Consulates General in those cities are severely restricted. American officials in Lahore and Islamabad are instructed to restrict the frequency and to minimize the duration of trips to public markets, restaurants, and other locations. Only a limited number of official visitors are placed in hotels, and for limited stays. Depending on ongoing security assessments, the U.S. Embassy places areas such as hotels, markets, and/or restaurants off limits to official personnel. American citizens in Pakistan are strongly urged to avoid hotels that do not apply stringent security measures and to maintain good situational awareness, particularly when visiting locations frequented by Westerners.

U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in Pakistan despite this Travel Warning are encouraged to register with the Embassy in Islamabad or the Consulates General in Karachi, Lahore, or Peshawar. This registration can be completed online through the Department of State's travel registration website. Alternatively, Americans without Internet access should contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate for information on registering in person. Registration enables citizens to obtain updated information on travel and security within Pakistan via the emergency alert system (Warden Notices).


The Embassy reiterates its advice to all Americans to take measures for their safety and security at all times. These measures include maintaining good situational awareness, avoiding crowds, and keeping a low profile. The Embassy reminds Americans that even peaceful demonstrations may become violent and advises Americans to avoid demonstrations. Americans should avoid setting patterns by varying times and routes for all required travel. Americans should ensure that their travel documents and visas are valid at all times. Official Americans are instructed to avoid use of public transportation and restrict their use of personal vehicles in response to security concerns.

Security threats may on short notice temporarily restrict the ability of U.S. Missions, particularly in Peshawar, to provide routine consular services. All American citizens are encouraged to apply for renewal of travel documents at least three months prior to expiration.

The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad is located at Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5; telephone (92-51) 208-0000; Consular Section telephone (92-51) 208-2700; fax (92-51) 282-2632; website http://islamabad.usembassy.gov; Email address: acs_islamabad@state.gov. For after-hours emergencies, please call +92-51-208-0000.

The U.S. Consulate General in Karachi, located at 8 Abdullah Haroon Road, provides service to U.S. citizens by appointment only. U.S. citizens requiring assistance should call the consular section in Karachi. Their telephone is (92-21) 3520-4200; fax (92-21) 3568-0496; website http://karachi.usconsulate.gov/. For after-hours emergencies, please call +92-21-3520-4200.

The U.S. Consulate General in Lahore is located at 50- Sharah-E-Abdul Hameed Bin Badees, (Old Empress Road) near Shimla Hill Rotary; telephone (92-42) 3603-4000; fax (92-42) 3603-4200; website http://lahore.usconsulate.gov/; Email address: acslahore@state.gov. For after-hours emergencies, please call +92-42-3603-4000.

The U.S. Consulate General in Peshawar is located at 11 Hospital Road, Cantonment, Peshawar; telephone (92-91) 526-8800; fax (92-91) 527-6712; website http://peshawar.usconsulate.gov. For after-hours emergencies, please call +92-91-526-8800.


U.S. citizens living or traveling in Pakistan are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy or Consulates or through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Pakistan. U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Pakistan. By registering, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the Worldwide Caution and the Pakistan Country Specific Information can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays)."

Read the complete Warning: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_930.html

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