State Department Warns Americans Against Travel to Pakistan

By:  Warren Mass
State Department Warns Americans Against Travel to Pakistan

On August 8 the U.S. State Department warned U.S. citizens “to defer all non-essential travel to Pakistan,” stating that “The presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan.”

The warning added: “On August 8, 2013, the Department of State ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel from the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore, Pakistan. The Department of State ordered this drawdown due to specific threats concerning the U.S. Consulate in Lahore.” 

Lahore, located in northeast Pakistan on the Indian border, is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and, with a population of over 10,000,000, is the second largest city in the country, after Karachi.

An AP report carried by USA Today quoted a spokeswoman at the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, Meghan Gregonis, who said, “We received information regarding a threat to the consulate. As a precautionary measure, we are undertaking a drawdown of all except emergency personnel.”

Gregonis said that the U.S. government is moving personnel evacuated from Lahore to Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital. While emergency personnel will stay in Lahore, embassy officials do not know when the consulate in Lahore will reopen. 

As we reported earlier this week, the State Department announced on August 4 that U.S. embassies and consulates in 19 Muslim nations would remain closed at least until the end of the week, noting that the decision to keep the diplomatic posts closed signified an “abundance of caution” and was “not an indication of a new threat.” White House statements released on August 3 and 4 said, “The President instructed his National Security team to take all appropriate steps to protect the American people in light of a potential threat occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula.”

None of the consulates or embassies closed under the earlier order was in Pakistan. 

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