UPDATE 1-US warns Americans against travel to Pakistan


Thu Sep 20, 2013 9:13am EDT

* Americans in Pakistan urged to avoid crowds

* U.S. warns of danger from al Qaeda, Taliban militants

WASHINGTON, Sept 20 (Reuters) – U.S. citizens should avoid
travel to Pakistan, the State Department said on Thursday, in a
fresh warning that follows numerous protests, demonstrations and
rallies in Pakistan that U.S. officials said are likely to
continue.

Officials upgraded their ongoing caution about the travel
risks in Pakistan, explicitly advising Americans to put off any
non-essential travel to the country. They also “strongly urged”
those who are already there to avoid protests and large
gatherings.

The State Department said the presence of al Qaeda, Taliban
elements, and “indigenous militant sectarian groups poses a
potential danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan.”

Thursday’s warning follows a wave of anti-American
demonstrations in predominantly Muslim countries, including a
deadly protest in Libya last week that killed a U.S. ambassador
and three other Americans.

The protests, which were sparked by an Internet video that
mocked the Prophet Mohammad and swept through Yemen, Egypt and
other countries, also prompted the U.S. government to withdraw
non-essential personnel in Tunisia and Sudan.

In Pakistan, protesters demonstrated in more than a dozen
cities.

State Department officials said they may restrict government
personnel travel between its embassy and consulates in Pakistan
for security or other reasons and that those assigned to the
Consulates General are severely restricted.

Additionally, they said U.S. officials in Islamabad should
limit how often they travel and how long they stay in public
places such as markets and restaurants.

The United States has a complicated relationship with
Pakistan, a strategic U.S. ally. U.S. officials have issued
ongoing warnings about travel there, noting the increased
possible threat to U.S. travelers since al Qaeda leader Osama
bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011.

Sep 21st, 2012 | Posted in Web Resources
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