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Brian Luke Community Blogger, WGRZ-TV

Monday, May 2, 2011

Travel Warning U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Uzbekistan


Travel Warning
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs

Uzbekistan

April 25, 2011

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens that the potential for a terrorist attack or localized civil disturbance still exists in Uzbekistan.  The Department of State continues to urge U.S. citizens in Uzbekistan to exercise caution when traveling in the region.  This supersedes the Travel Warning dated July 22, 2010, to provide information on potential border area hazards. 
The U.S. government continues to receive information that indicates terrorist groups may be planning attacks, possibly against U.S. interests, in Uzbekistan.  Supporters of terrorist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qaida, the Islamic Jihad Union, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement are active in the Central Asian region.  Members of these groups have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and have attacked U.S. government interests in the past, including the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent in 2004, and may attempt to target U.S. government or private American interests in Uzbekistan.  In the past, these groups have conducted kidnappings, assassinations, and suicide bombings.
Uzbek authorities maintain a high level of alert and aggressive security measures to thwart terrorist attacks.  High security at official facilities may lead terrorists and their sympathizers to seek softer targets.  These may include facilities where U.S. citizens and other foreigners congregate or visit, such as residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels, outdoor recreation events, and resorts.  The U.S. Embassy in Tashkent continues to employ heightened security precautions.  U.S. citizens should report any unusual activity to local authorities and then inform the Embassy.
Border areas in the region are frequently not well-marked and can be potential flashpoints.  Some border areas are also mined.  Travelers should therefore avoid these areas and cross only at authorized border crossing points.  The areas of Uzbekistan bordering Afghanistan should be avoided for all but essential travel.  Extreme caution should also be exercised in areas of the Ferghana Valley bordering Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.  There have been a number of security incidents in this region, as well as several exchanges of gunfire across the Uzbek/Kyrgyz border.
The Uzbek government tightly controls all official border crossings and all borders are subject to closure without notice.  Travel within Uzbekistan by rail or land sometimes requires brief exit into neighboring countries.  Travelers should have multiple-entry Uzbek visas and a proper visa for the neighboring country in order to avoid delays in travel.  Furthermore, U.S. citizens affiliated with nongovernmental organizations that have been closed in Uzbekistan may be denied entry, even with a valid visa.
U.S. citizens traveling to or remaining in Uzbekistan despite this Travel Warning are strongly advised to enroll with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program  (STEP).  U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with theU.S. Embassy in Tashkent, located at # 3, Moyqorghon Street, 5th Block, Yunusobod District, Tashkent-700093, Uzbekistan.  The telephone number is 998-71-120-5450 and can be reached after hours as well in the event of an emergency.  The consular fax number is 998-71-120-5448; the consular section may also be contacted by email.
For Information on emergencies and crises overseas, see What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis.
Current information on travel and security in Uzbekistan may also be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  For further information, please consult the Country Specific Information for Uzbekistan and the currentWorldwide Caution, which are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website.   Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook

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