US embassy limits staff movement in Islamabad amid red alert

Ahmed Subhan
Web Desk
Islamabad Police during a flag march on February 5, 2022. — INP
Islamabad Police during a flag march on February 5, 2022. — INP

  • US embassy issues security advisory for mission personnel.
  • Diplomats advised to avoid "non-essential, unofficial" travel in capital.
  • Islamabad placed on "high alert"; snap-checking increased.

ISLAMABAD: The US Embassy in Islamabad on Sunday advised its mission personnel to avoid "non-essential and unofficial" travel in the federal capital throughout the holiday season days after a suicide bombing hit the city.

In a statement, the embassy said that the directions have been issued in light of Islamabad being placed on high alert due to security concerns.

"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 they are 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, seven intermittent blasts hit Balochistan — three in Quetta, two in Turtbat, and one each in 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.