U.S. Evacuates a Consulate in Pakistan

Dashiell Bennett, The Atlantic Wire
Aug. 9, 2013, 6:02 a.m.

NEW YORK — A new un­spe­cified ter­ror threat has forced State De­part­ment per­son­nel to leave the U.S. Con­su­late of­fice in Lahore, Pakistan. All non-emer­gency em­ploy­ees were moved to the main em­bassy in Is­lamabad on Fri­day, after “cred­ible threat in­form­a­tion” that was spe­cif­ic to Lahore sur­faced. Of­fi­cials says the threat is un­re­lated to pre­vi­ous vague threats that caused the clos­ure of 19 em­bassies in the last week, and the evac­u­ation of the em­bassy in Ye­men.

The State De­part­ment also re-upped its gen­er­al warn­ing to Amer­ic­ans to avoid all “non-es­sen­tial” travel to the coun­try. The em­bassy would have been closed this week­end any­way, in ob­serv­ance of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ra­madan.

There are also con­cerns that a rising tide of vi­ol­ence in Pakistan may turn its fo­cus to­ward the Amer­ic­ans. At least 37 people were killed on Thursday when the fu­ner­al of a slain po­lice of­ficer was at­tacked by a sui­cide bomber. The Pakistani Taliban took cred­it for the bomb­ing, which killed an­oth­er 21 of­ficers in the city of Quetta. On Fri­day, 10 more people were killed there when a gun­man opened fire on wor­ship­pers at a mosque.

While the U.S. has been ex­er­cising an abund­ance of cau­tion, the clos­ure of the Mideast em­bassies has be­come a brag­ging point among ji­hadists and their sup­port­ers, who have seem­ingly man­aged to scare the Amer­ic­an gov­ern­ment without ac­tu­ally fir­ing a shot.

Re­prin­ted with per­mis­sion from the At­lantic Wire. The ori­gin­al story can be found here.

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