News / Asia

US Orders Diplomats Out of Lahore

Pakistani security personnel stand alert outside the US consulate in Lahore, August 9, 2013.
Pakistani security personnel stand alert outside the US consulate in Lahore, August 9, 2013.
Sharon Behn
— The United States has ordered the evacuation of its consulate in the eastern Pakistani city Lahore because of what it calls “specific threats.” The State Department also issued a new travel warning urging all U.S. citizens to defer non-essential travel to Pakistan.
 
Meghan Gregonis, spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in the Pakistan capital Islamabad, said all non-emergency personnel had been evacuated from the consulate in the eastern city Lahore.
 
"We have received information regarding a threat to our consulate in Lahore, Pakistan. As a precautionary measure we have undertaken a drawdown for all but emergency personnel in Lahore," she said. "We do not have an announcement at this time on when the consulate will reopen. "
 
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Gregonis said it was not clear if the threats received against the consulate in Lahore were linked to the al-Qaeda threats that forced the extended closure of 19 US embassies and consulates across the Middle East and Africa.
 
"At this time the threat is localized, and the embassy here in Islamabad and other consulates are scheduled to reopen on Monday after the (Muslim) Eid holiday," she said.
 
One senior Pakistani government official told VOA the information on the threat did not come from Pakistan sources. Speaking on condition of anonymity given the senstivity of the situation, the official said Pakistan officials are meeting with American embassy representatives Friday to discuss the situation.

In recent days, Pakistan has increased its own security measures citing concerns around Friday's annual Eid holiday, as well as a recent jailbreak at a prison in the northwest that released more than 200 prisoners, including "dangerous terrorists.”
 
Omar Hamid Khan, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said the federal government had instructed the provincial authorities to be on alert around prisons and that increased security measures have also been taken around the capital, Islamabad.
 
"That zone has been fortified, and there have been general alerts issued, there is the airports and some of the sensitive installations are under heavy guard, besides that of course there is heavy surveillance, and aerial surveillance as well, and a general sense of alert in the city," he said.
 
The U.S. State Department, which issues regular warnings to U.S. citizens traveling to Pakistan, on Thursday reminded its nationals of ongoing security concerns in the country.
 
It said that the presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups in Pakistan pose a potential danger to U.S. citizens throughout the country. There are frequent terror attacks in Pakistan, against civilian, government and foreign targets, including coordinated assaults on heavily armed Pakistani installations.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
August 09, 2013 10:53 AM
The US should withdraw all diplomatic staff from countries such as Pakistan and Yemen that are not safe and should cut off all financial and military assistance to those countries. Millions of dollars are given annually to the military of these countries and if they cannot protect the hands that feed them, they do not deserve any military assistance and the US does not need any diplomatic office or staff in those countries.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid