U.S. Evacuates a Consulate in Pakistan
A new unspecified terror threat has forced State Department personnel to leave the U.S. Consulate office in Lahore, Pakistan.
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.