• Thu. Mar 9th, 2023

US mission restricts staff movement in Islamabad amid security alert

Frontier Constabulary and Islamabad police personnel stand alert in capital on August 22, 2022. — Online
Frontier Constabulary and Islamabad police personnel stand alert in capital on August 22, 2022. — Online

ISLAMABAD: American mission personnel were advised on Sunday by the US Embassy in Islamabad to avoid “non-essential and unofficial” travel in the federal capital throughout the holiday season a couple of days after the city was struck by suicide bombing.

The embassy, in its statement, said that the directives have been communicated with the mission in the wake of security concerns as the federal capital has been placed on high alert.

“As Islamabad has been placed on a Red Alert citing security concerns while banning all public gatherings, the embassy is urging all Mission personnel to refrain from non-essential, unofficial travel in Islamabad throughout the holiday season,” the statement stated.

The embassy also advised its staff to exercise vigilance at events, places of worship and avoid locations with large crowds, review their security plans, be aware of their surroundings, carry identification, follow requests from law enforcement, and monitor local media for updates.

In an earlier advisory, the embassy reminded US citizens that planned attacks and criminal activity often occur in crowded public locations such as markets, shopping malls, hotels, airports, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, transportation hubs, schools, and other areas where people tend to gather.

“Public events, such as demonstrations and celebratory gatherings are also at a higher risk for violence,” the embassy warned.

In a statement today, the Islamabad Capital Police said security in the capital has been beefed up and placed on “high alert” and snap-checking has been increased in the Red Zone and all the entry and exit points of the federal capital.

“The citizens are requested to carry their identification cards along with them and cooperate with security personnel in the Red Zone during checking,” the police said.

They also added that although it is ready to ensure security in the capital, citizens are advised to call on 15 if they see a “suspicious activity” taking place.

On Friday morning, a suicide attacker, riding a cab with a woman, blew himself up when four bike-riding cops of Eagle Squad intercepted them at Sector I-10/4 — sending the federal capital into a frenzy.

As a result of the blast a police official was martyred, while seven — including a policeman and civilians were injured — police told the media. Later, a joint investigation team (JIT) was formed to probe the suicide bombing.

There has been a rise in terror incidents across the country — especially in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — after the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) ended its ceasefire with Islamabad last month.

Earlier today, six intermittent blasts hit Balochistan — three in Quetta and one each in Turtbat, Hub and Kohlu district — leaving five soldiers, including a captain, martyred and injuring 15 others.

Last Sunday, militants took over a Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) compound in KP’s Bannu area, which was cleared by the Pakistan Army three days later. However, four soldiers embraced martyrdom and 10 sustained injuries.

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