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Afghanistan Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Feb 04, 2004

This Travel Warning adds information on the threat to U.S. citizens and employees of non-governmental organizations, provides updated information on the security situation in Afghanistan generally, and provides new phone numbers for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. The security threat to all American citizens in Afghanistan remains high. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning for Afghanistan issued July 28, 2003.

The Department of State strongly warns U.S. citizens against travel to Afghanistan. There is an ongoing threat to kidnap and assassinate U.S. citizens and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) workers throughout the country. The ability of Afghan authorities to maintain order and ensure the security of citizens and visitors is limited. Remnants of the former Taliban regime and the terrorist Al-Qaida network, and other groups hostile to the government, remain active. U.S.-led military operations continue. Travel in all areas of Afghanistan, including the capital Kabul, is unsafe due to military operations, landmines, banditry, armed rivalry among political and tribal groups, and the possibility of terrorist attacks, including attacks using vehicular or other bombs. The security environment remains volatile and unpredictable.

There have been a number of attacks on international organizations, international aid workers, and foreign interests and nationals, including the killing of a United Nations High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR) worker in Ghazni and carbombing in front of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) compound in Kandahar both in November 2003, and several attacks in 2002-2004 on International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF), resulting in deaths and injuries, including two deadly attacks in late January 2004. The United Nations has temporarily evacuated its international staff from Kandahar, Jalalabad and Gardez and closed its office in Ghazni. Over the past year there have been several unsuccessful rocket attacks in Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan, including a rocket landing in a field opposite the Embassy compound in December 2003, and an explosion in the perimeter wall of the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul on November 22, 2003.

Family members of official Americans assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul are not allowed to reside in Afghanistan. In addition, unofficial travel to Afghanistan by U.S. Government employees and their family members requires prior approval by the Department of State. From time to time, the U.S. Embassy places areas frequented by foreigners off limits to its personnel depending on current security conditions. Private U.S. citizens are strongly urged to heed these restrictions as well and may obtain the latest information by calling the U.S. Embassy in Kabul or consulting the Embassy website below. As stated in the current Worldwide Caution, terrorist actions may include, but are not limited to, suicide operations, bombings, assaults or kidnappings. Possible threats include conventional weapons such as explosive devises or non-conventional weapons, including chemical or biological agents.

The United States Embassy cannot provide passport or visa services, and its ability to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is limited. Afghan authorities also can provide only limited assistance to U.S. citizens facing difficulties.

U.S. citizens who choose to visit or remain in Afghanistan despite this Travel Warning are urged to pay close attention to their personal security, avoid rallies and demonstrations, and to register with and obtain updated security information from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. The U.S. Embassy is located at Great Masood Road between Radio Afghanistan and the Ministry of Public Health (the road is also known as Bebe Mahro (Airport) Road), Kabul. Phone numbers are (93-20) 290002/ 290005 fax (93-20)293-153 and (93-20)230-1364. The Embassy website is /Afghanistan.

Updated information on travel and security in Afghanistan may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States or Canada, or, from overseas, 1-317-472-2328. For additional information, consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Afghanistan and the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement located at http://travel.state.gov.

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