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Uzbekistan Travel Warnings

Issued by U.S. Department of State

Jul 03, 2008

This Travel Warning is being issued to remind U.S. citizens that the potential for a terrorist attack or localized civil disturbance still exists, despite the fact that there have been no violent incidents in Uzbekistan since May 2005.  The Department of State continues to urge Americans in Uzbekistan to exercise caution when traveling in the region. This supersedes the Travel Warning dated October 25, 2007.

The U.S. Government continues to receive information that indicates terrorist groups may be planning attacks, possibly against U.S. interests, in Uzbekistan. Supporters of terrorist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Al-Qaida, the Islamic Jihad Union, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement are active in the region. Members of these groups have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and have attacked U.S. Government interests in the past, including the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, and may attempt to target U.S. Government or private American interests in Uzbekistan. In the past, these groups have conducted kidnappings, assassinations, and suicide bombings, though no instances have been documented in recent years.

High security at official U.S. facilities may lead terrorists and their sympathizers to seek softer targets. These may include facilities where Americans and other foreigners congregate or visit, such as residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels, outdoor recreation events, and resorts. The U.S. Embassy in Tashkent continues to employ heightened security precautions. U.S. citizens should report any unusual activity to local authorities and then inform the Embassy.

The Uzbek Government maintains travel restrictions on large parts of the Surkhandarya province bordering Afghanistan, including the border city of Termez. American citizens intending to travel to this region must obtain a special permission card from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, or Uzbek embassies and consulates abroad. Even with permission, however, some American citizens transiting to Afghanistan via Termez have been briefly detained and/or fined for not registering in Uzbekistan. Furthermore, American citizens affiliated with nongovernmental organizations that have been closed in Uzbekistan may be denied entry, even with a valid visa.

Uzbekistan experienced a wave of terrorist violence in 2004. In July 2004 there were three suicide bombings in Tashkent, including one outside the U.S. Embassy. The Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) claimed responsibility for the attacks. The IJU also used suicide bombers in multiple attacks focused on police and Uzbek private and commercial facilities in Tashkent and Bukhara in late March and early April 2004. In May 2005, armed militants stormed a prison in Andijon, released its prisoners, and then took control of the regional administration and other government buildings in Andijon Province. Fighting broke out between government forces and the militants, and reports indicated that several hundred civilians died in the ensuing violence.

While there were no reports of U.S. citizens affected by these events, U.S. citizens and other foreigners in Uzbekistan have experienced harassment from authorities since the 2005 violence. Americans traveling to or remaining in Uzbekistan are strongly urged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Uzbekistan. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent. The U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan is located at # 3, Moyqorghon Street, 5th Block, Yunusobod District, Tashkent-700093, Uzbekistan. The telephone number is 998-71-120-5450 and can be reached after hours as well. The Consular fax number is 998-71-120-5448. The website is http://uzbekistan.usembassy.gov.

As the Department continues to develop information on any potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its consular information documents, including the Country Specific Information for Uzbekistan and the Worldwide Caution, available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov.  In addition to information on the Internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada or, outside the U.S. and Canada, on 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).

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