Officials with the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan issued an emergency warning for U.S. citizens in Kabul, saying it received “credible reports of an imminent attack” within the next 48 hours. The statement said the embassy has no further information about the targets, timing or nature of the planned attack. The Taliban often carry out attacks in Kabul and elsewhere, mainly targeting Afghan security forces and foreigners. Supporters of the Islamic State group have a growing presence in Afghanistan.
In Washington, department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters that the U.S. Embassy received the reports of a specific and credible imminent threat, but it wasn’t against the embassy, U.S. citizens or U.S. interests. Earlier this month, the State Department issued an updated travel warning for Afghanistan in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris. That warning advised Americans not to travel to Afghanistan, citing the “extremely unstable” security situation. In September, Taliban fighters briefly overran Afghan forces to take control of the northern city of Kunduz. Bombings, especially roadside bombs, have also been a major threat to both Afghan security forces and civilians across the country. The statement released cited the “travel warning for Afghanistan.”
In accordance with the Travel Warning for Afghanistan, the Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Afghanistan. The security situation in Afghanistan is extremely unstable, and the threat to all U.S. citizens in Afghanistan remains critical U.S. citizens currently visiting or residing in Afghanistan may wish to consider departing. The Embassy strongly urges U.S. citizens who decide to remain in Afghanistan to review your personal security plans, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal safety, remain aware of your surroundings, monitor local media for updates, and maintain a high level of vigilance.”
The embassy’s statement — titled “Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens” — was issued just days after a suicide bomber struck in Kabul, leaving one dead and one wounded, according to the Associated Press. Rising insecurity in Kabul has already forced the U.S. embassy not to allow its personnel to travel by road, and instead rely on helicopters. Other foreign diplomatic missions and international aid groups have also taken similar precautions to minimize their vulnerability while moving between secure areas in the Afghan capital. On Saturday, a senior Afghan election official survived a suicide bombing against his vehicle during morning rush hours in Kabul that killed his driver and wounded a bodyguard. The motives for that violence are not known, but Taliban insurgents have increased attacks on Afghan security forces and government officials as part of their ongoing violent anti-government campaign around Afghanistan.