US advises citizens to reconsider visiting Pakistan, issues highest level travel alert

Lalit K Jha

Washington, Jan 31 (PTI) Advising its citizens to reconsider visiting Pakistan due to terrorism, the US on Friday issued the highest level travel alert for the provinces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa along with the Line of Control.

The Level 4 of US travel advisory means asking citizens not to travel to the provinces of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) along with the LoC. The rest of the areas in Pakistan continues to remain on Level 3 of the travel alert.

'Do not travel to the India-Pakistan border. Militant groups are known to operate in the area. India and Pakistan maintain a strong military presence on both sides of the border,' the State Department said.

Indian and Pakistani military forces periodically exchange gunfire and artillery fire across the LoC, the advisory said.

'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,' the State Department said.

These groups historically have not discriminated between government officials and civilians. Assassination and kidnapping attempts are common, including the targeting of polio eradication teams, it said.

According to the State Department, 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, it said.

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 US diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past, the advisory added. PTI LKJ CPS