United States alerts its citizens travelling to Pakistan

State Department Officially Debuts New Travel Advisory System The new-tiered system was launched on Wednesday in an attempt to make it easier for American travelers to understand security threats overseas.

The new system includes an interactive world map, with countries colour-coded blank, yellow, orange or red, according to their rankings.

While the State Department is warning all USA citizens not to travel to those countries, it can not prohibit them from doing so. Bernier-Toth said USA embassies were given the new rankings ahead of time so they could notify the governments of the impending change. The US has in the past warned against travel to Kenya, prompting complaints that such notifications were unjustified and damaging to the nation's economy. U.S. has been ranked as the highest source of tourists to Kenya.

Ms Bernier-Toth, the acting deputy assistant secretary for Overseas Citizens Services, noted that the method of assessing travel risks has not changed.

Singapore has been classified as a Level One country under the new USA travel warning system.

Readers, do you think this new system is an improvement?

The advisory said terrorist groups continued plotting possible attacks in Afghanistan... with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs....and local government facilities.

"Terrorist or armed groups are active in East Central India, primarily in rural areas", the advisory said, referring to the armed Naxalites.

The counties of Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River and Lamu are included in the suggested no-go area, along with parts of Kilifi County north of Malindi.

"So we've done away with travel warnings and alerts, we've done away with emergency and security messages because, again, that was something people didn't always understand the difference [between], and we have gone to a travel advisory [system] for every country-including Antarctica". Cuba, once a do not travel, is now Level 3; China is a Level 2.

Burundi is designated a level-three destination.

India has received a rank or Level 2, indicating "exercise increased caution" while Pakistan has been ranked at Level 3, indicating "reconsider travel".

That said, there seems (to me, anyway) to be a muddy distinction between levels one and two. It also warned of potential for armed conflict within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border in the state.

Level 2 means that Americans need to exercise "increased caution". Presumably, this is due to recent isolated incidents in each of those countries, but in many cases those incidents were several years ago.

Vanessa Coleman

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