U.S. advises citizens against visiting Pakistan in new travel advisory
Jan 13 2018 by Desiree Burns
"These improvements will provide U.S. citizens with clear, timely, and reliable safety and security information worldwide", the State Department said.
India has been ranked Level 2 (exercise increased caution) while Pakistan has been placed in Level 3 (reconsider travel).
USA citizens are simply advised to exercise increased caution in Uganda due to crime.
"This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk", the State Department informed.
The State Department insists the rankings are based exclusively on security conditions in a country, but is aware of the possibility for pushback from governments that are unhappy with their ranking.
The advisory issued by the State Department categorised over dozen countries in terms of threat level with Pakistan occupying Level 3, the second last level in terms of danger.
But travelers were often confused on the difference between warnings and alerts, or between emergency and security messages, Bernier-Toth said.
"The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in rural areas from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel to these areas", it added.
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The State Department has not changed its methods for determining the country-specific threats.
"There's still a collaborative process that involves our security experts, the Intel community, host governments, our embassies and consulates, the information that they feed to us we then assess and determine how we are going to rank a country".
The new system includes an interactive world map, with countries colour-coded blank, yellow, orange or red, according to their rankings.
"We needed to make it more accessible to people".
On Tuesday, US senators heard State Department officials say someone known to the Cuban government has a mystery weapon that they use to cause brain trauma to Americans in Havana. "Personally, I was exhausted of explaining the difference between a travel warning and a travel alert, even to some of my colleagues". Those will continue to go out through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program as well as posted on the State Department website.
Travellers are told to "exercise increased caution in Tanzania due to crime, terrorism, and targeting of LGBTI persons". Bernier-Toth said USA embassies were given the new rankings ahead of time so they could notify the governments of the impending change.
"As we were putting all this together we did a very careful assessment", said Bernier-Toth, explaining the Tier 3 ranking, "we talked to all of our experts, and this is where we came out on Cuba".