The US has advised its citizens to avoid travelling to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), saying the threat of armed conflict between India and Pakistan remains in the area.
In a travel advisory issued by the State Department, the Trump administration noted that Indian and Pakistani military forces periodically exchange gun and artillery fire across the Line of Control (LoC). The area was also affected by terrorism.
The advisory asked US citizens to reconsider travel to Pakistan due to terrorism, saying the US administration has “limited ability” to provide them emergency services in the country due to the security environment.
It asked the US nationals to also avoid visiting Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) provinces, including the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), due to terrorism and kidnapping.
The US government noted that terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Pakistan. ”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,” it added while highlighting the fact that terror groups operate with impunity in Pakistan.
The advisory said terrorists have targeted US diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past, and information suggested they continue to do so.
Terrorist attacks continue to happen across Pakistan, with most occurring in Balochistan and KPK. Large-scale terrorist attacks have resulted in hundreds of casualties, the advisory pointed out.
The advisory said travel by US government personnel within Pakistan was restricted and additional restrictions on movements by American personnel outside of US diplomatic facilities might occur at any time, depending on local circumstances and security conditions, which could change suddenly.
It said the US Consulate General in Peshawar was unable to provide any consular services to American citizens.
The advisory said if the US citizens still decide to travel to Pakistan, they should remain aware of their surroundings and local events; vary travel routes and timing especially for routine trips; minimise the duration of trips to public markets, restaurants, government and military institutions and other locations; minimise the number of US/Western nationals congregating in any one location at any time; and enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security alerts.