Kyrgyz Republic Public Announcement
Issued by US Department of State
Jun 07, 2002
U.S. citizens should evaluate 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 in country of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
(IMU), a group designated by the Secretary of State as a foreign terrorist
organization, cannot be ruled out. Ongoing regional security concerns
resulting from the Kyrgyz Republic's close proximity to Afghanistan warrant
that all American citizens 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.
While the IMU has been affected by Operation Enduring Freedom in
Afghanistan, their current operational capabilities remain unclear. The
Department of State continues to assess the situation. In 1999, armed IMU
fighters took four Japanese citizens and a number of Kyrgyz nationals
hostage. In August 2000, members of the IMU crossed the Tajik-Kyrgyz
border, engaged Kyrgyz security forces, and took hostage four American
mountain climbers. In July 2001, Kyrgyz armed forces engaged in a skirmish
with armed individuals south of the city of Khaykrykhan in the Batken Oblast
region. At least two Kyrgyz soldiers were wounded. While there have been
no reported hostile IMU incidents in the Kyrgyz Republic since 2001, future
activity by the group cannot be conclusively ruled out.
Travel by U.S. Government personnel to areas of the Kyrgyz Republic south
and west of Osh is currently restricted. The Department of State reminds
U.S. citizens that the security situation remains fluid in the area along
the Kyrgyz-Tajik and Kyrgyz-Uzbek borders. This is due to both the history
of IMU activity in the area and the presence of land mines in the Batken
Oblast region and along the Kyrgyz-Uzbek 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 due 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. For example, the Aksyy region in Jalal-Abad Oblast area
northwest of Osh, was the scene of a number of violent political
demonstrations in spring 2002 in which several civilians were killed and
many were wounded. As well, U.S. citizens are urged to contact the U.S.
Embassy in Bishkek if there are any changes in their contact information.