The United States has issued a travel advisory to its citizens to reconsider travel in high-risk areas in Pakistan due to terrorism and sectarian violence.
In a Level 3 travel advisory issued on Thursday, the US has asked its citizens not to travel to Balochistan province and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, including the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), due to terrorism and kidnapping.
It recommended that the immediate vicinity of the Line of Control is risky due to terrorism and the potential for armed conflict. Cautioning its citizens that the terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Pakistan, the advisory said 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.
Flagging up that terrorists have targeted US diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past, it advised the citizens to remain vigilant of their surroundings and local events.
"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. 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.
The US government further noted that it has a "limited ability to provide emergency services to its citizens in Pakistan" due to the security environment. "Travel by US government personnel within Pakistan is restricted, and additional restrictions on movements by US government personnel outside of US diplomatic facilities may occur at any time, depending on local circumstances and security conditions, which can change suddenly."
The US Consulate General in Peshawar is unable to provide any consular services to US citizens, the advisory said.
The advisory asked citizens to exercise a high degree of caution in Pakistan especially in Balochistan due to the unpredictable security situation. "Do not travel to Balochistan province. Active terrorist groups, an active separatist movement, sectarian conflicts, and deadly terrorist attacks against civilians, government offices, and security forces destabilize the province, including all major cities. In 2019, several bombings occurred in Balochistan province that resulted in injuries and deaths."
Over travel to KPK province, it read, "Do not travel to KPK province, which includes the former FATA. Active terrorist and insurgent groups routinely conduct attacks against civilians, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government offices, and security forces. These groups historically have not discriminated between government officials and civilians. Assassination and kidnapping attempts are common, including the targeting of polio eradication teams."
(With Inputs from ANI)