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Kyrgyz Republic Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Sep 21, 2001

The Department of State warns U. S. citizens to defer travel to the Kyrgyz Republic. The September 11 terrorist attack in the United States and the continued presence of indigenous militant groups in the Kyrgyz Republic has significantly added to concerns about the security situation for Americans residing in and visiting there.

While the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic has been helpful in ensuring the safety of U. S. citizens, Americans in or traveling through the Kyrgyz Republic should take appropriate steps to maintain their security awareness.

As a result of these concerns, the Department has approved the authorized (voluntary)departure of non-emergency personnel and family members of U. S. Embassy personnel in the Kyrgyz Republic. All American citizens in the Kyrgyz Republic are urged to take those measures they deem appropriate to ensure their well being, including consideration of departure from the country. The U. S. Embassy in Bishkek remains available for emergency American citizen services assistance.

In July 2001, Kyrgyz armed forces engaged in a skirmish with armed individuals south of the city of Khaydyrkahan in Batken Oblast. At least two Kyrgyz soldiers were wounded. In August 2000, members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a group designated by the Secretary of State as a foreign terrorist organization, crossed the Tajik-Kyrgyz border, engaged Kyrgyz security forces, and took four American climbers hostage. Periodic fighting between Kyrgyz forces and the IMU has resulted in a number of reported Kyrgyz fatalities. In 1999, armed IMU militants from Tajikistan took four Japanese citizens hostage.

The Department of State reminds U. S. citizens that the security situation in areas of the Kyrgyz Republic to the south and west of the provincial capital of Osh, and particularly along the Kyrgyz-Tajik and the Kyrgyz-Uzbek borders remains fluid, volatile and dangerous. There exists a continuing threat of terrorist violence in the southern Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan.

Given this situation, U. S. Government personnel are prohibited from traveling to areas of the Kyrgyz Republic south and west of Osh and in rural areas along the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border. Due to the presence of land mines in the Batken Oblast and along the Kyrgyz-Tajik border, the U. S. Embassy strongly recommends that American citizens avoid all travel to these areas.

Americans who decide to remain in or visit the Kyrgyz Republic should exercise maximum caution and take prudent measures. This includes maintaining a strong security posture by being aware of their surroundings, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, keeping a low profile, varying times and routes and notifying the U. S. Embassy in case of any change in the local security situation as well as if there are changes in their contact information.

U. S. citizens in the Kyrgyz Republic are strongly urged to register and obtain updated security information at the American Embassy in Bishkek. The U. S. Embassy in Bishkek is located at 171 Prospect Mira, 720016 Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. The telephone number is 996-312-551-241, fax number 996-312-551-264

For further general information regarding travel to the Kyrgyz Republic, U. S. citizens should consult the Department of State 's Consular Information Sheet for the Kyrgyz Republic, available via the Internet at http://travel.state.gov.

This Travel Warning supersedes the Public Announcement of August 17, 2001 to alert Americans to increased security concerns and of the authorized (voluntary) departure status of non-emergency personnel and family members of U. S. Embassy personnel in the Kyrgyz Republic.

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