July 1999 News

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United States warns of possible attack on Americans in Pakistan

16 July 1999
Reuters

WASHINGTON- The United States warned Friday that Afghanistan-based extremists may soon attack American interests in Pakistan.

"The U.S. government has received a growing body of information that suggests strongly that extremists based in Afghanistan are preparing to attack U.S. interests in Pakistan in the near future," the State Department said in a travel warning.

The department gave no details.

But it noted that one group, the Harakat-Ul-Mujahideen, recently issued a "ban (against) the travel of all American citizens, including diplomats" to Kashmir in India.

The State Department also said it remained "seriously concerned" about the safety and security of American citizens in Pakistan given the presence of Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden in neighboring Afghanistan and "the public support and sympathy for him in Pakistan."

Bin Laden has been indicted in the United States for masterminding last year's bombing of the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya which killed at least 226 people and injured thousands more.

Washington responded to the attacks by bombing facilities in Afghanistan and Sudan that it believed were linked to bin Laden.

The Africa embassy bombings occurred despite a secret four-year campaign by the United States to contain and control his activities. Since then, Washington has issued frequent warnings to Americans about possible attacks and recently closed six embassies in Africa for several days because of related security concerns.

In the travel warning, the department urged Americans to "evaluate carefully the implications for their security and safety before deciding to travel to Pakistan."

It said that while tensions between India and Pakistan over the military conflict in the disputed Kashmir appear to be declining, "certain extremist groups in Pakistan have voiced opposition to the government of Pakistan's role in the de-escalation" of the crisis.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif agreed to withdraw Pakistani-backed militants who crossed the Line of Control into Indian-held areas of Kashmir during a July 4 meeting with President Bill Clinton at the White House.

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This Archives is Maintained by Md. Sadiq, 1998

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