WASHINGTON: The United States has issued a travel warning for its citizens visiting Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh citing that terrorist groups in South Asia could be planning attacks in the region, possibly against American facilities, citizens and interests.
“U.S. citizens should avoid travel to Afghanistan, as no region in the country is immune from violence. A number of established terrorist organizations, indigenous sectarian organisations other militants pose a danger to U.S. citizens in Pakistan,” the U.S. State Department said in its worldwide caution advisory.
The State Department warned its citizens that extremist elements are also active in India.
“Terrorist groups including ISIS, al-Qa’ida, their associates, and those inspired by such organizations, are intent on attacking U.S. citizens wherever they are. Extremists may use conventional or non-conventional weapons to target U.S. government and private interests,” it added.
The State Department warned U.S. citizens against travel to Afghanistan because of continued instability and threats by terrorist organizations against them.
“Travel to all areas of Afghanistan remains unsafe due to the ongoing risk of kidnapping, hostage taking, military combat operations, landmines, banditry, armed rivalry between political and tribal groups, militant attacks, direct and indirect fire, suicide bombings, and insurgent attacks, including attacks using vehicle-borne or other improvised explosive devices (IED),” the advisory said.
Warning U.S. citizens against all non-essential travel to Pakistan, the State Department said the country continues to experience significant terrorist violence, including sectarian attacks.
It said that foreign and indigenous terrorist groups continue to pose a danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan, adding that targeted attacks against government officials, humanitarian and non-governmental organization (NGO) employees, tribal elders, and law enforcement personnel are common in the country.
“Evidence suggests that some victims of terrorist activity have been targeted because they are Americans. Terrorists and criminal groups regularly resort to kidnapping for ransom,” the advisory added.