Kyrgyz Republic Travel Warning
Issued by US Department of State
Nov 19, 2001
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer travel to the Kyrgyz Republic. While the Department of State has authorized the return of embassy personnel in non-emergency positions and family members of embassy personnel effective November 19, 2001, the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States and the proximity of the Kyrgyz Republic to Afghanistan raise continuing concerns for the safety of American citizens. Afghanistan is the site of ongoing military operations and continues to harbor international terrorist Usama bin Laden.
While the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic has been helpful in ensuring the safety of U.S. citizens, the presence of indigenous militant groups, including a group designated by the Secretary of State as a foreign terrorist organization, requires that all Americans in or traveling through the Kyrgyz Republic take appropriate steps to maintain their security awareness. The U.S. Embassy in Bishkek remains available for assistance to American citizens.
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. 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.
In light of recent events in the United States, Americans traveling and residing abroad should monitor closely the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov, particularly the Department of State's Worldwide Caution and the Consular Information Sheet for the Kyrgyz Republic.
This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning of September 21, 2001 to alert Americans to continuing security concerns and to the end of the authorized (voluntary) departure status of non-emergency personnel and family members of U.S. Embassy personnel in the Kyrgyz Republic.