Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"Don't Be Fooled, It's Not Safe"

These are words of wisdom shared by a UN worker here in Kabul. I'm fine. We haven't had access to email for about 2 days. Yes, there was a suicide bomb attack on the former Afghan President at the place where we attended International Women's Day earlier in the itinerary. By registering my trip with the State Department, I received the following email (not that it did me much good without email access; and note the date; perhaps it's a standardized email):

Warden Message
February 5, 2006
VBIED Attack
A vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) exploded this morning in an
attack against an Afghan parliamentary official. The U.S. Embassy has placed
the area of the attack--between the Intercontinental Hotel and the Loya
Jirga--off limits for official Americans. As always, the Embassy recommends
that all American citizens in Afghanistan maintain a high level of vigilance,
and avoid unnecessary travel. The Embassy particularly recommends that U.S.
citizens in all parts of Afghanistan avoid traveling alone at any time.
From time to time, the Embassy places areas frequented by foreigners off limits
to its personnel depending on current security conditions. Visits to
restaurants and hotels are restricted to official business with prior approval
from the security office. Unofficial travel is limited during daylight hours
and is forbidden after dark. The Embassy cautions against movements in other
potential target areas, such as:
* Key national or international government establishments;
* National or international military facilities, including ISAF;
* Locations popular with the international community, including
restaurants and Internet cafes; and
* Areas with high population density, i.e. bazaars.
The Embassy currently is permitting official Americans to travel on Jalalabad
Road, but only for official business and after receiving permission from Embassy
Americans in Afghanistan are urged to monitor the local news and maintain
contact with the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. As the Embassy continues to develop
information on any potential security threats to U.S. citizens in Afghanistan,
it will share them with the American community via the Warden System. We take
this opportunity to remind the community of the continuing threats outlined in
the current Travel Warning for Afghanistan and Worldwide Caution Public
Announcement. The full text of each can be found at <http://travel.state.gov/>.
Updated information may also be obtained by contacting the American Embassy in
Kabul at usconsulkabul@state.gov <mailto:usconsulkabul@state.gov> or by calling
the Consular Section on 070-20-1908.
The Department of State also shares information through its consular information
program documents, available on the Internet at <http://travel.state.gov/>. In
addition to information on the Internet, U.S. travelers may obtain up-to-date
information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the
U.S. or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.
Consular Section
U.S. Embassy Kabul

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