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Afghanistan Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Jul 08, 2002

This Travel Warning notes the growing number of attacks against humanitarian workers in Northern Afghanistan and continued security concerns. The security threat to all American citizens in Afghanistan remains high. This Travel Warning supersedes that of February 28, 2002.

The Department of State strongly warns U.S. citizens against travel to Afghanistan. The ability of Afghan authorities to maintain order and ensure the security of citizens and visitors is very limited. Remnants of the former Taliban regime and the terrorist Al-Qaida network, as well as criminal elements, remain active in the country. U.S.-led military operations continue. Travel in all areas of Afghanistan, including the capital Kabul, is unsafe due to military operations, landmines, banditry, armed rivalry among political and tribal groups, and the possibility of terrorist attacks. Several foreign journalists have died covering the current situation in Afghanistan, including four murdered near Sarabi in November 2001. Several humanitarian assistance workers, including Americans, have been assaulted and/or killed in the last month in the northern area of Afghanistan. The security environment remains volatile and unpredictable in Kabul and the countryside. On June 18, an unidentified group launched rockets within the city, and several rockets landed in the vicinity of the Embassy. As stated in the current Worldwide Caution, the Department of State has received reports that American citizens may be targeted for kidnapping or other terrorist actions.

An estimated 5-7 million landmines and large quantities of unexploded ordnance are scattered throughout the countryside and alongside roads, posing a danger to travelers. Some areas of the country are facing food shortages. There is little infrastructure, and public services are extremely limited. Afghan authorities have imposed curfews in some areas.

Due to a growing number of attacks against United Nations (UN) and private humanitarian workers and non-governmental organizations in the northern areas of Afghanistan in and around the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, the U.S. Government warns American citizens, including those with experience in the area, against traveling to or residing in the Mazar area. Those currently in the Mazar area should review their security arrangements, contact U.S. military forces in the region to register their presence, and make preparations to depart.

The United States Liaison Office in Kabul was officially inaugurated as an Embassy on January 17, 2002. The Embassy does not provide passport or visa services. The Embassy's ability to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is limited. Embassy officials in Kabul cannot travel outside the capital to provide assistance to Americans. Afghan authorities also can provide only limited assistance to U.S. citizens facing difficulties. The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, will provide most routine consular services to American citizens traveling to Afghanistan.

U.S. citizens who choose to visit or remain in Afghanistan are urged to pay close attention to their personal security and to take those actions they deem appropriate to ensure their well-being. Americans in Afghanistan should avoid rallies and demonstrations. All U.S. citizens remaining in Afghanistan or planning travel to the country are strongly urged to register with and obtain updated security information from the American Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, or the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar as well as at the Embassy in Kabul at the following addresses:

U.S. Embassy Kabul, Great Masood Road between Radio Afghanistan and Ministry of Public Health Tel 93 (2) 290002, 290005, 290154; INMARSAT telephone 00 873(761)837-927 and fax 00 873 (76)183-7374. Please note phone and fax communications in Afghanistan continue to be unreliable.

U.S. Embassy Islamabad, Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5, Islamabad, telephone (92-51) 2080-0000, Consular Section telephone (92-51) 2080-2700, fax (92-51) 282-2632;

U.S. Consulate Peshawar, 11 Hospital Road, Cantonment, Peshawar, telephone (92-91) 279-801 through 803, fax (92-91) 276-712.

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