State Department Evacuates Staff from US Consulate in Pakistan
The State Department has ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. Government personnel from the U.S. Consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, due to threats against the post.
"We are undertaking this drawdown due to concerns about credible threat information specific to the U.S. Consulate in Lahore," a senior State Department official said in a statement.
Most officials have been moved to the capital city of Islamabad. The evacuation comes after a different, more local threat stream than the current threat emanating from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, the official confirmed. That threat has led to the closure of 19 embassies and consulates until Saturday.
The State Department also updated its general travel warning for the country, urging all Americans to "defer all non-essential travel" to Pakistan.
The warning lists a litany of concerns beyond the new Lahore threat, focusing on the fact that "the presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan."
It also warns Americans of problems both entering and exiting the country due to harassment by officials, and states that American citizens should take special precautions to have all travel documents including visas organized.
Pakistan is routinely under a travel warning, with the last warning issued on April 9, 2013. This updated warning does not urge American citizens already in Pakistan to leave the country, but to severely restrict their travel and be vigilant about their surroundings.