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Uzbekistan Public Announcement

Issued by US Department of State

Mar 31, 2004

This Public Announcement is being issued to update Americans on recent bombings and attacks in Tashkent and Bukhara. U.S. citizens should evaluate carefully the implications for their security and safety before deciding to travel to or around Uzbekistan. This supersedes the Public Announcement of December 17, 2003 and expires on September 29, 2004.

Uzbek authorities confirmed that on March 28, a bomb went off in a house in the Caroman District of the Bukhara Region. Uzbek authorities responding to the explosion found large supplies of bomb-making material at the site. On March 29, two suicide bombings took place in Chorsu Bazaar located in the Shakhantaur area of Tashkent, killing six people (including the bombers) and wounding at least 21. During this same period, police in two other districts in Tashkent were attacked. On March 30, an explosion occurred in the vicinity of a police checkpoint on the road between Tashkent and Qibray

Authorities have made some arrests and the investigation into the bombings is ongoing. Authorities believe, however, that some terrorists remain at large and may attempt additional attacks in the future. The U.S. Embassy remains open, but could temporarily suspend routine visa operations at the Chancery or other Embassy operations at the Sharq annex building in downtown Tashkent as the security situation warrants.

In addition to these events, the U.S. Government received information in 2003 that terrorists may be planning attacks against hotels in Uzbekistan frequented by Westerners, and against foreign embassies and other organizations, facilities, and institutions associated with or representing foreign interests.

Supporters of extremist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Al-Qaida, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement continue to remain active in the region. These groups have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and may also attempt to target U.S. Government or private interests in Uzbekistan. Terrorist groups do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. As security is increased at official U.S. facilities, terrorists and their sympathizers 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, resorts, beaches, maritime facilities, and planes.

U.S. citizens should increase their personal security awareness and avoid, if possible, locations where Americans and Westerners generally congregate in large numbers. 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 oblast (administrative region) bordering Afghanistan, including the border city of Termez. Foreign 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.

U.S. citizens are urged to register and update their contact information at the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent. The Embassy is located at 82 Chilanzarskaya St., Tashkent, Uzbekistan 700115. The telephone number is 998-71-120-5450. The fax number is 998-71-120-6335.

Updated information on travel and security in Uzbekistan may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, and, from overseas, 1-317-472-2328. U.S. citizens should consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Uzbekistan at http://travel.state.gov, the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement at http://travel.state.gov/wwc1.html, and the Travel Publication "A Safe Trip Abroad" at http://travel.state.gov/asafetripabroad.html, which are available on the Department's Internet site at http://travel.state.gov.

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