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Nepal Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Dec 05, 2001

The Department of State warns Americans to defer travel to Nepal. Americans in Nepal are urged to avoid travel outside the Kathmandu Valley, particularly by road.

Violence by Maoist insurgents and fighting between Maoists and the Royal Nepal Army (RNA) has escalated in many parts of Nepal since the end of the cease-fire on November 23. Apparently in preparation for a bandh, or general strike, called for December 7, Maoists planted several bombs in various locations in Kathmandu on December 3. One of these bombs exploded in a carpet showroom frequented by tourists in Jawalakhel, resulting in several casualties. Maoists have thrown petrol bombs on vehicles of Government officials. Improvised bombs were found attached to Maoist banners in Kathmandu City near Thamel, where the highest number of tourists is located, and on a bridge in Lalitpur. There is the possibility for further intimidation by Maoists leading up to the December 7 bandh within and outside Kathmandu.

Outside the Kathmandu Valley, the situation is tense and uncertain. Fighting between Maoists and the RNA is underway near some traditional tourist areas. Among several incidents, RNA personnel were attacked on the main road from Kathmandu to Tibet along the Bhote Koshi River, a popular rafting destination. A battle occurred in the Solu Khumbu region near portions of the Everest trek. In the tourist center of Pokhara, a small bomb exploded at a municipal office on the night of November 23.

Because of multiple military operations in areas that have not typically seen Maoist violence in the past, the potential for violence anywhere, even in traditional tourist areas, cannot be ruled out. The potential exists for Americans to be inadvertently caught up in the violence. The security situation in various parts of Nepal may change at a moment's notice. Due to the state of emergency declared on November 26, communications and in-country air travel essential for medical evacuations may be disrupted. At this time, the U.S. Embassy has restricted all non-essential travel outside the Kathmandu Valley by official Americans.

Given the Maoist call for a general strike on December 7, American citizens in Nepal are urged to exercise special caution from sunset December 6 until late evening December 7 and to avoid nighttime travel on both dates.

Americans should closely monitor the Department's website at http://travel.state.gov. For further information on travel to Nepal, please consult the Department of State's latest Consular Information Sheet on Nepal at our website and the American Embassy in Nepal's home page at http://www.south-asia.com/USA. Americans living in or visiting Nepal are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Nepal and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Nepal. The U.S. Embassy is located at Pani Pokhari in Kathmandu, telephone (977) (1) 411179; fax (977) (1) 419963. U.S. citizens may also register by e-mail by accessing the Embassy's home page.

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