August 16, 2010

US Embassy warning: Alarming dangers ahead

Over the weekend, the US Embassy in Afghanistan issued an updated travel warning.

Chances are good that few people are considering a holiday in Afghanistan these days, but the latest travel warning offers some stark reflections on life in the war zone, especially in the wake of the brutal murder of eight Westerners and two of their Afghan colleagues taking part in a medical trek in Nuristan.

Here's some highlights:

"No part of Afghanistan should be considered immune from violence, and the potential exists throughout the country for hostile acts, either targeted or random, against American and other Western nationals at any time."

"Afghan authorities have a limited ability to maintain order and ensure the security of Afghan citizens and visitors. Travel in all areas of Afghanistan is unsafe due to military combat operations, landmines, banditry, armed rivalry between political and tribal groups, and the possibility of terrorist attacks, including attacks using vehicular or other improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The security environment remains volatile and unpredictable."

"In Kandahar, the assassination of government officials, their associates, or anyone notably linked to the government has become alarming. The number of attacks throughout the south and southeastern areas of the country is growing as a result of insurgent and drug-related activity, and no part of Afghanistan is immune from violence."

"Ambushes, robberies, and violent crime remain a problem. U.S. citizens involved in property disputes -- a common legal problem -- have reported that their adversaries in the disputes have threatened their lives. U.S. citizens who find themselves in such situations cannot assume that either local law enforcement or the U.S. Embassy will be able to assist them."

"The U.S. Embassy's ability to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is limited, particularly for those persons outside the capital."

ABOUT THIS BLOG

Checkpoint Kabul is written by McClatchy journalists covering Afghanistan and south Asia.

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