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Afghanistan Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Jun 22, 2016

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Afghanistan because of continued instability and threats by terrorist organizations against U.S. citizens. This replaces the Travel Warning issued November 19, 2015.

Travel to all areas of Afghanistan remains unsafe due to the ongoing risk of kidnapping, hostage taking, military combat operations, landmines, banditry, armed rivalry between political and tribal groups, militant attacks, direct and indirect fire, suicide bombings, and insurgent attacks, including attacks using vehicle-borne or other improvised explosive devices (IED). Attacks may also target official Afghan and U.S. government convoys and compounds, foreign embassies, military installations, commercial entities, restaurants, hotels, airports, and educational centers.

Extremists associated with various Taliban networks, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province (ISKP), and members of other armed opposition groups are active throughout the country. ISKP has shown its operational capability, having attacked both Afghan and foreign government facilities. The Taliban and its affiliates routinely attack Afghan, Coalition and U.S. targets with little regard for civilian casualties. In April 2016 insurgents conducted a complex attack targeting the Afghan Department of High Protection headquarters in Kabul City, killing 47 people and wounding over 200. Subsequently, a Taliban suicide bomber attacked a bus carrying provincial appellate court staff, killing ten and wounding four in Kabul City. Additionally, the Taliban attacked the provincial court of Pul-i-Alam, Logar Province, resulting in seven people killed and 23 wounded.

There have been attacks on Coalition convoys in Kabul using vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED) targeting U.S. citizens, such as the May 25, 2016 attack on a NATO convoy and the kidnapping of an Australian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) worker in Jalalabad in April. Additionally, a National Public Radio journalist was killed when the Afghan army unit he was traveling with came under attack in Helmand Province.

Due to security concerns, unofficial travel to Afghanistan by U.S. government employees and their family members is restricted and requires prior approval from the Department of State. Furthermore, U.S. Embassy personnel are restricted from traveling to all locations in Kabul except the U.S. Embassy and other U.S. government facilities unless there is a compelling government interest in permitting such travel that outweighs the risk.

Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Afghanistan, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For further background information regarding FAA flight advisories and prohibitions for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

The U.S. Embassy's ability to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is severely limited, particularly outside of Kabul. U.S. citizens are encouraged to defer non-essential travel within Afghanistan and note that evacuation options from Afghanistan are extremely limited due to the lack of infrastructure, geographic constraints, and other security concerns.

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