US warns citizens against travelling to Afghanistan

Americans inside the country are urged to depart immediately via commercial means if possible, says State Department

News Desk December 19, 2023
Taliban fighters stand guard while people wait to receive sacks of rice, as part of humanitarian aid sent by China, at a distribution centre in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 7, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

The US Department of State has issued an advisory, urging its citizens to avoid traveling to Afghanistan, citing severe concerns related to terrorism, the risk of wrongful detention, kidnapping, and crime.

The advisory emphasises that, regardless of the reason, US citizens should refrain from visiting the country. “US citizens should not travel to Afghanistan for any reason,” the advisory emphasises.

In 2021, the Taliban assumed control of Afghanistan, establishing an "interim government" in Kabul. As a result, the US Embassy in Kabul suspended operations, rendering the US government unable to provide emergency consular services to American citizens in Afghanistan.

The advisory highlights the presence of multiple active terrorist groups in the country, posing a threat to US citizens of kidnapping and wrongful detentions and specifically mentioned the Taliban, saying “the Department has assessed that there is a risk of wrongful detention of US citizens by the Taliban.”

It also added that the activities of foreigners may be viewed with suspicion, and reasons for detention may be unclear.

Read also: US woman among 18 NGO staff detained in Afghanistan

“Even if you are registered with the appropriate authorities to conduct business, the risk of detention is high,” the advisory added.

“The Taliban do not regularly permit the United States to conduct welfare checks on US citizens in detention, including by phone,” the State Department warns.

“Detention can be lengthy and while in detention, US citizens have limited or no access to medical attention and may be subject to physical abuse.”

With the US Embassy in Kabul non-operational, the Department of State acknowledges its limited capacity to provide consular assistance within Afghanistan advising US citizens there to contact any US embassy or consulate located outside of Afghanistan.

“US citizens who are in Afghanistan are urged to depart immediately via commercial means if possible,” it stressed.

In response, the Islamic Emirate's spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, disputed the advisory, asserting that Afghanistan is safe and foreign nationals face no threats, Tolo News reported.


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