The United States on Monday issued Travel Warnings on Pakistan and Libya.
In an update, the State Department has warned U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Pakistan.
Protests have taken place across Pakistan against the United States, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and NATO. There have also been widespread demonstrations and large political rallies condemning drone strikes, Pakistan's ongoing energy crisis, and its decision to reopen NATO transit routes to Afghanistan.
These protests and demonstrations are likely to continue, according to the State Department which strongly urged U.S. citizens in Pakistan to avoid protests and large gatherings.
The presence of al-Qaeda, Taliban elements, and indigenous militant sectarian groups poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan. Terrorists have disguised themselves as Pakistani security personnel to gain access to targeted areas. Some media reports have falsely identified U.S. diplomats - and to a lesser extent U.S. and other Western journalists and non-governmental organization workers - as being intelligence operatives or private security personnel.
The State Department reminded of reports of continuing violent religious intolerance.
Since the announcement that Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan, U.S. citizens should be aware of the possible increase in the threat level throughout the country.
Rallies, demonstrations, and processions occur regularly throughout Pakistan on very short notice. Demonstrations often have taken on an anti-U.S. or anti-Western character, and U.S. citizens are urged to avoid large gatherings.
The Mission reiterates its advice to all U.S. citizens to take measures for their safety and security at all times.
U.S. citizens seeking services from the U.S. Consulates- General in Karachi and Peshawar might also encounter harassment from host government officials. Citing security concerns, host government intelligence officials frequently stop U.S. citizens outside the Consulates and obtain their personal information before allowing them to enter or as they are leaving. U.S. citizens might later be visited at their homes or offices and questioned about the nature of their business in Pakistan and the purpose of their visit to the Consulates.
Security threats might, on short notice, temporarily restrict the ability of the U.S. Missions, particularly in Peshawar, to provide routine Consular services. All U.S. citizens are encouraged to apply for renewal of travel documents at least three months prior to expiration.
U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in Pakistan despite this Travel Warning are encouraged to enroll with the Embassy in Islamabad or the Consulates-General in Karachi, Lahore, or Peshawar. The enrollment can be completed online through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) available on the State Department website.
Also on Monday, the Department warned U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Libya. The incidence of violent crimes, especially carjacking and robbery, has become a serious problem. In addition, political violence in the form of assassinations and vehicle bombs has increased in both Benghazi and Tripoli.
The Travel Warning also notes that U.S. Embassy in Tripoli resumed full Consular services for U.S. citizens in Libya.
U.S. citizens traveling to, or remaining in, Libya have been advised to take extreme caution and limit non-essential travel within the country, make their own contingency emergency plans, enroll their presence in Libya through STEP, and provide their current contact information and next-of-kin or emergency contact information.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com