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Travel Alert: Nepal
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
May 16, 2002
This Public Announcement is being issued to alert American citizens to
possible heightened risks to American citizens and American interests
in Nepal, especially outside the Kathmandu Valley, from the Maoist
insurgency. It also reminds Americans of the dangers associated with
periodic bandhs (strikes). This supersedes the
Public Announcement for Nepal issued on April 19, 2002. It expires on
September 15, 2002.
Recent reports of threats against and robberies of American trekkers,
property destruction suffered by two businesses with an American
affiliation, and increased anti-American rhetoric by the Maoist
leadership indicate an increased risk to Americans in Nepal,
particularly outside the Kathmandu Valley.
Americans who decide to travel outside the Valley are strongly urged to
U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu for the most recent security information
before undertaking such travel. The security situation in Nepal may
change with little notice. Maoist destruction of telephone service to
most trekking areas complicates efforts to locate Americans and to make
arrangements for emergency medical evacuations.
Maoist violence throughout Nepal has increased over the past several
months. In areas outside the Kathmandu Valley, the situation is tense
and uncertain, with armed conflicts between the Maoists and government
security forces occurring sporadically and unpredictably. Several
recent incidents of violence have occurred on main highways outside the
Kathmandu Valley, including the roads linking Kathmandu with the
Tibetan and Indian borders and the tourist destinations of Pokhara and
Chitwan National Park.
Following a strategy of instilling fear in the populace to force
compliance with their announced bandhs, the Maoists carried out a
nightly rash of bombings and other acts of violence throughout the
Kathmandu area prior to a bandh they called in April. While no
tourists were attacked, the dangers of Americans being caught in the
wrong place at the wrong time have increased, particularly in the
periods leading up to bandhs.
Outside the Kathmandu Valley, the Maoists ramped up violence and other
acts of intimidation in the period prior to the April strike, and the
armed conflict between Maoist and Government of Nepal forces continues
to intensify. A number of explosive devices directed against official
Government of Nepal vehicles have been detonated on main roads.
Despite cancellation of one of the announced April bandhs, private
buses operating outside the Kathmandu Valley during that period were
stopped, torched and their drivers beaten. Americans are strongly
urged to limit road travel outside the Kathmandu Valley during the days
leading up to and during any scheduled bandhs.
While popular support for bandhs has been waning, Maoist insurgents
have resorted to increasingly brutal acts of intimidation to enforce
compliance. In the past, bandhs have resulted in the shutdown of
businesses, schools, offices and vehicular traffic. Vehicles belonging
to the Government of Nepal have been attacked with petrol bombs,
reinforcing the threat that civilian vehicles that defy the bandh may
be subject to attack as well. American citizens are urged to carefully
evaluate the movement of traffic on the streets before undertaking
travel and to maintain a low profile throughout a bandh period. It is
possible that taxis, buses and other forms of public transportation may
not operate during a bandh. Americans planning travel in, to or from
Nepal should consider changing their travel schedules to avoid arrival
and/or departure dates during scheduled bandhs as transportation to and
from airports throughout Nepal may be affected. As always, Americans
in Nepal should avoid any demonstrations and closely monitor the
For further information on travel to Nepal, please consult the
Department of State's Consular Information Sheet on Nepal at
http://travel.state.gov and the American Embassy in Nepal's home page
at http://www.south-asia.com/USA. Americans living in or visiting
Nepal are strongly urged to register with the Consular Section of the
U.S. Embassy in Nepal and obtain updated information on travel and
security within Nepal. The U.S. Embassy is located at Pani Pokhari in
(977) (1) 411179; fax (977) (1) 419963. U.S. citizens may also
register by e-mail by accessing the Embassy's home page.
Department of State travel information and publications are available
at Internet address: http://travel.state.gov.
U.S. travelers may hear recorded information by calling the Department
of State in Washington, D.C. at 202-647-5225 from their touch-tone
telephone, or receive information by automated telefax by dialing 202-
647-3000 from their fax machine.