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Travel Warning: Kyrgyzstan

Originally released March 24, 2005, this information is current as of Thursday, June 02, 2005. Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid a certain country.

This Travel Warning is being issued to update security information on Kyrgyzstan and to note that the Department of State urges U.S. citizens to consider carefully the risks of travel to the country. This Travel Warning supersedes the Public Announcement issued on October 22, 2004.

Political demonstrations in March, throughout the country, have led to clashes between pro-government and opposition forces. Press reporting indicates that some members of the Kyrgyz Government have resigned. There have also been some reports of stores being looted in Bishkek in conjunction with the demonstrations.

On March 20, 21 and 22, political demonstrations in southern Kyrgyzstan led to clashes between government and opposition forces. The continued instability in the cities of Jalalabad and Osh has significantly added to concerns about the security situation for Americans residing and visiting there. The U.S. Peace Corps is exploring the possibility of removing its Peace Corps Volunteers from Jalalabad and Osh Oblasts as a safety precaution.

The Department of State is urging U.S. citizens to defer travel to Kyrgyzstan because of the current instability in that country.

U.S. citizens are urged to consider their safety and security before traveling to Kyrgyzstan. In addition to the ongoing political instability, the U.S. government is also aware of increased extremist activity in Central Asia. Extremist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a terrorist organization with links to al-Qaida, may be planning terrorist acts targeting U.S. Government facilities, Americans or American interests in Kyrgyzstan. New tactics, including the use of suicide bombers, have been employed by terrorists in neighboring Uzbekistan. As a result, the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek continues to maintain a heightened security posture.

U.S. Embassy personnel continue to observe heightened security precautions at work and in places where westerners congregate, as well as public places, such as markets and bazaars.

Travel by U.S. Government personnel to areas of Kyrgyzstan south and west of Osh is currently restricted. This is due to the history of IMU activity in the area and the presence of land mines in the Batken Oblast region and along the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border. The U.S. Embassy strongly recommends against travel to these areas.

U.S. citizens are urged to register and update their contact information at the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek. The U.S. Embassy in Bishkek is located at 171 Prospect Mira, 720016 Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The phone number is 996-312-551-241, fax: 996-312-551-264, and website: http://www.usemb-bishkek.rpo.at.

Updated information on travel and security in the Kyrgyzstan may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or, from overseas, 1-202-501-4444. U.S. citizens should consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Kyrgyzstan, the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, and the travel publication “A Safe Trip Abroad,” all of which are available on the Department’s Internet site at http://travel.state.gov.

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