State Department issues Travel Warning for Pakistan
“The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Pakistan. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated August 27, 2012, to remind U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns in Pakistan.
Protests have taken place across Pakistan against the United States, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and NATO. There have also been widespread demonstrations and large political rallies condemning drone strikes, Pakistan’s ongoing energy crisis, and Pakistan’s July 3, 2012, decision to reopen NATO transit routes to Afghanistan. These protests and demonstrations are likely to continue. U.S. citizens in Pakistan are strongly urged to avoid protests and large gatherings
The presence of al-Qaida, Taliban elements, and indigenous militant sectarian groups poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan. Terrorists have attacked several civilian, government, and foreign targets. The Government of Pakistan maintains heightened security measures, particularly in the major cities. Threat reporting indicates terrorist groups continue to seek opportunities to attack locations where U.S. citizens and Westerners are known to congregate or visit, such as shopping areas, hotels, clubs and restaurants, places of worship, schools, and outdoor recreation events. Terrorists have disguised themselves as Pakistani security personnel to gain access to targeted areas. Some media reports have falsely identified U.S. diplomats – and to a lesser extent U.S. and other Western journalists and non-governmental organization workers – as being intelligence operatives or private security personnel.
Terrorists have executed coordinated attacks with multiple operatives using portable weaponry such as guns, grenades, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), suicide vests, and car bombs in Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi, and Rawalpindi. Attacks included armed assaults on heavily guarded sites such as the naval air base in Karachi, the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar, police offices in Lahore and Karachi, military installations in Lahore, religious shrines including the Data Darbar shrine in Lahore and the Baba Farid Ganj Shakar shrine in southern Punjab, religious processions in Lahore, a hospital in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and a food distribution center in Bajaur Agency.