U.S. Evacuates Consulate In Pakistan
The United States has evacuated another diplomatic outpost in response to threats of terrorism:
The State Department has ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. Government personnel from the U.S. Consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, due to threats against the post.
“We are undertaking this drawdown due to concerns about credible threat information specific to the U.S. Consulate in Lahore,” a senior State Department official said in a statement.
Most officials have been moved to the capital city of Islamabad. The evacuation comes after a different, more local threat stream than the current threat emanating from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, the official confirmed. That threat has led to the closure of 19 embassies and consulates until Saturday.
The State Department also updated its general travel warning for the country, urging all Americans to “defer all non-essential travel” to Pakistan.
The warning lists a litany of concerns beyond the new Lahore threat, focusing on the fact that “the presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan.”
Meanwhile, there are 19 other U.S. installations that remain closed due to these threats until at least tomorrow. There is not word on whether those closing will be extended, but one wonders how long that can actually last. Keeping embassies closed is hardly a sign of strength, and isn’t really something that can be done a long term basis without causing some serious logistical problems.