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ISLAMABAD: The United States has issued a travel advisory to its citizens in Pakistan, advising them against travelling to certain areas of the country due to the ‘increased risk’ of terrorism and sectarian violence.

In the level-3 travel advisory of October 5, the US State Department has asked the US nationals not to travel to Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) provinces, including the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), due to chances of terrorism and kidnapping incidents.

The US citizens in Pakistan have also been advised against travelling to the vicinity of the Line of Control due to the potential for armed conflict.

“Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Pakistan. A local history of terrorism and ongoing ideological aspirations of violence by extremist elements have led to indiscriminate attacks on civilian as well as local military and police targets,” the advisory added.

It further stated that terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls, military installations, airports, universities, tourist locations, schools, hospitals, places of worship, and government facilities. Terrorists have targeted U.S. diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past, it added.

“Terrorist attacks continue to happen across Pakistan, with most occurring in Balochistan and KPK, including the former FATA. Large-scale terrorist attacks have resulted in numerous casualties,” it added.

It, however, added that Pakistan’s security environment has improved since 2014 when Pakistani security forces undertook concerted counter terrorist and counter militant operations.

It added that there are greater security resources and infrastructure in the major cities, particularly Islamabad, and security forces in these areas may be more readily able to respond to an emergency compared to other areas of the country. “While threats still exist, terrorist attacks are rare in Islamabad,” it warned.

It added that the US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to its citizens in Pakistan due to the security environment. “Travel by U.S. government personnel within Pakistan is restricted, and additional restrictions on movements by U.S. government personnel outside of U.S. diplomatic facilities may occur at any time, depending on local circumstances and security conditions, which can change suddenly,” the advisory added.

It further stated that the US Consulate General in Peshawar is unable to provide any consular services to US citizens.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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