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Kyrgyz Republic Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Jan 03, 2002

U.S. citizens should evaluate carefully the implications for their security and safety before deciding to travel to the Kyrgyz Republic. 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, and ongoing regional security concerns resulting from the Kyrgyz Republic's close proximity to Afghanistan, warrant that all Americans in or traveling through the Kyrgyz Republic take measures to ensure their safety and security. The U.S. Embassy in Bishkek continues to employ heightened security precautions.

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. Such measures include 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, U.S. citizens are urged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek if there are any changes in their contact information.

U.S. citizens in the Kyrgyz Republic are also 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 numbers are 996-312-551-241 and 996-312-720-095; the fax number 996-312-551-264

Americans traveling and residing abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov, including the Consular Information Sheet for the Kyrgyz Republic.

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