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Travel Warning: Nepal

Originally released June 24, 2005, this information is current as of Monday, November 7, 2005. Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid a certain country.

This Travel Warning is being issued to alert American citizens to ongoing security concerns in Nepal. The Department of State continues to urge American citizens to defer non-essential travel to Nepal. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on October 26, 2004.

The Department of State remains concerned about the security situation in Nepal, and continues to urge American citizens to defer non-essential travel to Nepal. Travel via road in some areas outside of the Kathmandu Valley continues to be dangerous and should be avoided. On June 6, 2005 Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) members detonated a landmine underneath a crowded bus in the Chitwan district, killing or injuring over a hundred people. In addition, there have been attacks in the countryside involving foreigners. Maoist extortion of tourists along some popular hiking trails continues. Trekkers and other individuals who resist Maoist extortion demands are threatened, sometimes assaulted and risk being detained.

Maoist supreme commander Prachanda issued a press statement on July 1, 2004, threatening to use "more violent means" if peace talks with the Government of Nepal are not forthcoming or are unsuccessful. The U.S. Department of State continues to regard this as an ongoing statement of intent. The Embassy has periodically received information that the Maoists might attempt to attack or take actions specifically against U.S. citizens, particularly in regions of the country where Maoists are active.

U.S. citizens are advised to avoid road travel outside the Kathmandu Valley unless they have reliable information that they can proceed safely in specific areas at specific times. During recent road closures, Maoist cadres have attacked commercial trucks, buses and private vehicles defying their blockades, sometimes killing or severely injuring drivers. In April 2005, two Russian tourists were injured when a bomb exploded on the highway near their taxi while driving east toward Jiri, Dolakha district. During announced road closures in the past, the Embassy received widespread reports of Maoists forcibly blocking major roads throughout the country, including roads to Tibet, India, Chitwan, Pokhara, and Jiri. During some closures, some districts were blockaded without warning. In December 2004, Maoists forcibly blocked all traffic coming into and out of the Kathmandu Valley. U.S. citizens are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu for the latest security information, and to travel by air whenever possible.

Because of heightened security risks, U.S. official personnel do not generally travel by road outside the Kathmandu Valley. All official travel outside the Kathmandu Valley, including by air, requires specific clearance by the Regional Security Officer. As a result, emergency assistance to U.S. citizens may be limited. Active duty military and DoD contractors must obtain a country clearance for official and unofficial travel to Nepal.

On a number of occasions, Maoists have burned or bombed tourist resorts after the foreigners staying there were given short notice to evacuate. The Maoists also periodically detonate bombs within Kathmandu itself. On September 10, 2004, two bombs exploded at the American Center compound. There were no injuries, but the blasts damaged the facility. The suspension of Peace Corps activities, which was announced on September 14, 2004, will continue until further notice. During the fall of 2004, several bombs exploded in Thamel, a tourist hub in Kathmandu.

The Department of State has designated the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” organization under the "Terrorist Exclusion List" of the Immigration and Nationality Act and under Executive Order 13224. These two designations make Maoists excludable from entry into the United States and bars U.S. citizens from transactions such as contribution of funds, goods, or services to, or for the benefit of the Maoists

U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Nepal despite this Travel Warning should factor the potential for violence into their plans, avoid public demonstrations and maintain low profiles while in Nepal. U.S. citizens are urged to register with the Consular Section of the Embassy by accessing the Department of State’s travel registration site at https://travelregistration.state.gov or by personal appearance at the Consular Section. The Consular Section is located at the Yak and Yeti Hotel complex on Durbarmarg Street. The section can be reached directly at (977) (1) 444-5577 or through the Embassy switchboard. The U.S. Embassy is located at Pani Pokhari in Kathmandu, telephone (977) (1) 441-1179; fax (977) (1) 444-4981, website http://kathmandu.usembassy.gov. The Consular Section can provide updated information on travel and security.

U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Nepal and Worldwide Caution Public Announcement via the Internet on the Department of State's home page at http://travel.state.gov or by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

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