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Afghanistan Travel Warning

Issued by U.S. Department of State

Dec 27, 2002

This Travel Warning provides updated information on the security situation in the country and continues to emphasize the Embassy's limited capability to provide consular services. The security threat to all American citizens in Afghanistan remains high. This Travel Warning supersedes that of November 18, 2002.

The Department of State strongly warns U.S. citizens against travel to Afghanistan. The ability of Afghan authorities to maintain order and ensure security is limited. Remnants of the former Taliban regime and the terrorist Al-Qaida network, and other groups hostile to the government, as well as criminal elements, remain active. 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, including attacks using vehicular or other bombs. The security environment remains volatile and unpredictable. Several United Nations and private humanitarian workers, including Americans, were assaulted in June 2002 in the northern areas of Afghanistan in and around the city of Mazar-e-Sharif. As a result of these attacks, the U.S. Government warns American citizens, including those familiar with Mazar-e-Sharif, against traveling to or residing in the area. On June 18, an unidentified group launched rockets within Kabul, and several rockets landed in the vicinity of the Embassy. On September 5, a car bomb was detonated in downtown Kabul, killing more than 30 Afghans. On December 17, 2002, a grenade attack injured two U.S. soldiers in central Kabul. From time to time, the U.S. Embassy places shopping and other areas frequented by foreigners off limits to its personnel depending on current security conditions. Private U.S. citizens are strongly urged to heed these restrictions as well and may obtain the latest information by calling the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. 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. The Afghan government has lifted their curfew in Kabul; however, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul continues to observe a curfew.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Great Masood Road between Radio Afghanistan and the Ministry of Public Health (the road is also known as Bebe Mahro (Airport) Road), Kabul. The Embassy cannot provide passport or visa services and its ability to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is limited. Afghan authorities also can provide only limited assistance to U.S. citizens facing difficulties.

U.S. citizens who choose to visit or remain in Afghanistan despite this Warning are urged to pay close attention to their personal security, should avoid rallies and demonstrations, and should register with and obtain updated security information from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. Phone numbers are: (93-2) 290002, 290005, 290154; INMARSAT line, tel 00 [872](761)837-927; fax: 00[873](76) 183-7374. See http://travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html for State Department Travel Warnings.

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