Red Alert Issued by US Embassy in Pakistan, Staff Barred from Travel

As Pakistan’s capital has been placed on a Red Alert citing security concerns while banning all public gatherings, the United States embassy in Islamabad also issued a security red alert on Sunday evening.

Due to information that unknown individuals are possibly plotting to attack Americans sometime during the holidays, the embassy has prohibited, effective immediately, all US government employees from visiting Islamabad’s Marriot Hotel for fear of a possible attack.

The Marriott Hotel Islamabad was perhaps the most protected hotel in the world with a highly trained security staff and state-of-the-art security system in place during the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, when it was believed that the hotel had housed US and NATO forces.

Fearing a possible attack, Britain’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has also issued a travel advisory ordering its officials not to visit the popular spot – the site of a suicide bomb attack more than a decade ago.

In line with the alert that is in effect for the entire country, the US Embassy has also urged all mission personnel to refrain from non-essential, unofficial travel in Islamabad throughout the holiday season.

Pakistan’s federal capital administration banned on Friday all types of gatherings for two weeks and declared a state of high alert throughout the city fearing a possible terror attack after intelligence agencies, according to sources, warned about the presence of another suicide bomber in the twin cities metropolitan area of Rawalpindi-Islamabad.

The ban came after a policeman was killed in a suicide blast in the city on Friday that also critically injured four police officers and two civilians.

On December 20, the Pakistan Army elite strike forces killed at least 25 armed militia members of what is known as the Pakistani Taliban -Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)- who seized Bannu district’s counter-terrorism interrogation center in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.

The staff of the counter-terrorism center was taken hostage while the TTP members demanded a safe airlift to Afghanistan along with their imprisoned members in return for their release.

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