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Mark Caserta: Isn’t it time to unite against domestic terrorism?

2 Dec

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Mark Caserta: FSP editor

12.2.16

 

It could be a tragic mistake to allow political clutter and post-election discourse to lower our guard to a very real and growing threat within the United States – domestic terrorism. And all the “walls” and “extreme vetting” we can muster won’t protect us from attackers already in the U.S.

Based on a recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “Terror Threat Snapshot,” we could be facing one of the “worst years on record for homegrown Islamist extremism.” So far in 2016, 26 individuals in 13 states have been arrested for domestic terrorist-related activity, per the DHS.

In the snapshot, FBI Director James Comey estimates around 80 percent of his Bureau’s 1,000-plus active homegrown terrorist investigations can be traced to ISIS. Comey called the acts that account for that statistic “the greatest threat to the physical safety of Americans today.”

You may recall, just under a year ago, Comey revealed his agency had ongoing ISIS related investigations in every state of the union.

“We have investigations of people in various stages of radicalizing in all 50 states,” Comey told a winter meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General. “This isn’t a New York phenomenon or a Washington phenomenon. This is all 50 states and in ways that are very hard to see,” he added.

Some of the major arrests listed in the snapshot are simply too close for comfort.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, a 35-year old U.S. citizen was arrested after attempting to hire a cell of terror operatives with a goal to ultimately launch attacks within the United States.

In Fairfax, Virginia, a 36-year old U.S. citizen and a police officer for the Washington Metro Transit Police was arrested for undisclosed, ISIS-related charges.

In Detroit, Michigan, a citizen who recently converted to Islam was arrested for “possessing a destructive device and acquiring explosive materials without a license.”

And, of course, just this week in Columbus, Ohio, a student who had complained about how Muslims were portrayed in the media injured 11 people with a car and knife attack in what police believe may have been an act of terror.The “takeaways” from the DHS report are no less alarming.

ISIS’ message continues to resonate with American citizens as more extremists plot attacks on American soil and attempt to travel overseas to join the terror group.

ISIS has targeted the West at an alarming rate, marked by a recent surge in ISIS-linked plots to attack U.S. and allied interests abroad.

ISIS and al Qaeda continue to take advantage of safe havens to consolidate their power and territory, as well as plan attacks.

Guantanamo Bay detainees are continuing to return to the fight to replenish the ranks of jihadist organizations.

Please understand, I’m not advocating we live our lives in constant fear. The ultimate purpose of terrorism, beyond obvious destruction and mayhem, is to rattle our lifestyle, widening the path for an insurgence of the Islamic Caliphate and Sharia law within our Western culture.

But, I believe it’s a reasonable assumption domestic terrorist attacks will escalate as the new administration and our allies begin to heighten the attacks on ISIS abroad. We must remain vigilant and in a perpetual state of preparedness. See something, say something.

It’s paramount that we unite against the threat of domestic terrorism.

ISIS isn’t concerned with our political affiliation.

 

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger and a Cabell County resident.

Mark Caserta: Steps to proactively prepare for future domestic terrorist attacks

23 Jul

This could save your life…

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Mark Caserta: Free State Patriot Editor

  • Jul 22, 2016

It’s a colossal understatement to say the world in which we live has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. It seems every day now, we hear stories of domestic and foreign terrorist attacks where the most innocent among us are murdered – including children.

And it’s simply incredibly reckless for Barack Obama to tell us “The world has never been less violent”.

What planet has this man been on?

In the wake of recent terrorist attacks and horrific law enforcement massacres, there’s a disconcerting sense of vulnerability all around us – and justifiably so.

As our desperation for leadership and action escalates, it’s time for responsible citizens to take measures to individually prepare for disaster.

Terrorism experts and security professionals say there are steps the public can take to reduce the risk of an attack and to increase chances of survival if one occurs.

The Sinclair Broadcast Group has compiled this information into six steps that could save your life and those around you.

1. See something, say something. As cliche as it’s become, security experts constantly return to this principle. Look for something out of place, such as an unattended backpack or suitcase, or any sort of suspicious activity.

As for this writer, this is where political correctness goes out the door! I’m constantly in tune with the nationality of those around me! Be the eyes and ears for law enforcement!

2. Don’t under-react. Experts agree that under-reacting to suspicious activity is a far bigger problem than overreacting. People often assume there is a reasonable explanation for something that seems suspicious or they may have inhibitions about getting involved. But let the police decide whether or not something is a true threat.

3. Trust your gut. People often do subconscious risk assessments in potentially dangerous situations. Don’t ignore that instinct! It could prevent an attack from happening. Take an extra moment and think “security and safety”.

4. Know your exits. As in movie theaters and airplanes, it’s always good advice to know where the exits are in any location. If possible, you want to figure out how to get yourself and your family out if something bad happens.

6. Finally, live your life. You never know when or where a terrorist event is going to happen. Staying away from a popular or populated area is no guarantee of safety. An attack on a random theater or restaurant may even be more effective in creating a sense of vulnerability and fear.

Our world is forever changed. We now have an obligation to maintain heightened awareness of our surroundings and premeditated diligence in protecting our loved ones and fellow man.

Let’s be proactive to these attacks and save lives.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: Nation desperate in fight against terrorism

8 Jul

me

Mark Caserta: Free State Patriot Editor

7.8.16

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There are too many major issues facing our nation, both domestically and internationally, for me to speculate which raises the most concern.

And frankly, the question is ambiguous to the point we should expect our nation’s leaders to be able to strategically address multiple issues simultaneously without compromising resources or victory.

However, capable execution at the executive level requires strong leadership, predisposed at fulfilling duty and obligation to the American people, with a servant’s heart and a lion’s will. And this president is dangerously wanting in this regard.

However, all things considered, survival is paramount. So, in my mind, the threat of radical Islamic terrorism poses the most imminent threat to the nation and now my neighbor.

Obama’s sympathetic decorum toward the Muslim faith has emboldened Islamic jihadists to bring the fight to our shores – and people are dying.

Team Obama continues to demonstrate a lack of conviction in standing against our enemy’s aggression and incredibly still does not have a plan to defeat ISIS or even understand their motivation.

For a case in point, look at Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who just last week told the world how she feels we should address terrorism.

“The good in this world far outweighs the evil,” Lynch said during a press conference in Orlando on Tuesday. “Our common humanity transcends our differences … our most effective response to terror and to hatred is compassion, it’s unity, and it’s love.”

So, is Lynch proposing we show compassion and love to the barbarous individuals who are burning, beheading and slaughtering innocent people?

It takes one “evil” person, amid hundreds of “good” people, to inflict death and destruction. But while her statement is both nave and foolish, it does embody the Obama narrative which indiscriminately coddles the Islamic faith.

But I believe we’re now dangerously close to a point of no return regarding domestic Islamic terrorism.

Multiple news sources, including a February 2015 “Breitbart” column by Edwin Mora, have reported FBI Director James Comey warning Americans that his agency is investigating suspected ISIS supporters residing in all 50 states.

“We have investigations of people in various stages of radicalizing in all 50 states,” said Comey, adding, “This isn’t a New York phenomenon or a Washington phenomenon. This is all 50 states and in ways that are very hard to see.”

In Mora’s column, Comey describes the radicalization message being used in the U.S. via social media.

“Troubled soul, come to the caliphate, you will live a life of glory, these are the apocalyptic end times, you will find a life of meaning here, fighting for our so-called caliphate. And if you can’t come, kill somebody where you are.”

Understand, if ISIS is successful at establishing domestic terrorist cells in every state of the union, we could be facing a coordinated attack of immense proportion. And nothing short of martial law could be our remaining course of action, leaving our nation forever changed.

Our nation is in desperate need of competent leadership committed to protecting life over legacy.

And we need it now.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: American lives overrule political correctness

17 Jun

me

Mark Caserta: Free State Patriot editor

6.17.16

San Bern

Simply put, political correctness and a liberal misrepresentation of Islamophobia in our nation are costing lives.

Last week we sustained the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history. An Islamic gunman, wielding an assault-style weapon and handgun, reportedly opened fire on hundreds of innocent people killing dozens and injuring many more.

While authorities are investigating whether the attack was an act of domestic or international terror, there is little doubt the shooter was influenced by his radical Islamic roots. CNN reported the afternoon following the attack that the attacker called 911 to pledge allegiance to ISIS and mentioned the Boston Marathon bombers, according to a U.S. official.

Shortly following the attack, a friend asked me, “Mark, what do you think Obama will call this attack?”

Of course, my friend was alluding to Obama’s prior shameful reference to “workplace violence” as in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, or an act of violence committed by a “lone gunman,” as in the shooting deaths of four Marines in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 2015.

“Anything but an attack from radical Islam,” I replied.

And true to form, following the attack, multiple news agencies including USA Today, reported President Obama calling the mass shooting in Orlando “an act of terror” and “an act of hate.”

No mention of Islam.

Interestingly, however, while the president made no mention of the shooter’s Islamic background, he was sure to identify the victims as being part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender culture.

I wonder how long before he blames the assault rifle and/or conservative “homophobe mentality” for the brutal attack.

But liberal libel and intellectual dishonesty aren’t going to protect our families from the threat of Islamic terrorism. Obama’s persistent refusal to admit innocent blood is being shed in the name of Allah should be troubling to all Americans.

And we all should be reminded, Hillary Clinton plans to carry on Obama’s failed Islamic foreign policy if elected.

It’s naive and otherwise blatantly ignorant to believe that simply refusing to call these extremists “Islamic terrorists” is going to save lives or in any way help fortify our relationship with Muslims around the world.

In fact, quite the opposite is happening. Our enemy is emboldened and prepared to bring the fight within the borders of the United States, as it was in Orlando.

To make matters worse, the president seems determined to exacerbate the problem by bringing thousands of un-vetted Syrian refuges to the U.S. Obama’s own FBI director James Comey told a House Committee on Homeland Security in 2015 that the federal government simply does not have the resources to conduct thorough background checks on all of the 10,000 Syrian refugees and exclude ISIS penetration.

America needs leadership willing to deliver a message of “shock and awe” to radical Islamic extremists around the world. Obama has proven he isn’t even willing to rattle his saber against Islamic terrorists, much less defeat them.

And we have no need of a president who values protecting the tenets of Islam over protecting the lives of Americans.

American lives matter.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

It’s time for U.S. to deal with “Jihadist” abuse

26 Dec

DOUG SMITH

Doug Smith: Author, historian and lead contributor to Free State Patriot

12.26.15

islam first

 

The Muslim world is rampant with cultural pathologies that keep it living largely in the mean and barbaric world of the 7th Century Arab peninsula. Common sense says that Western, civilized nations will look askance at that world, and view them with suspicion, and natural fear, and a sense of self preservation.  We do not fear the Muslim world because they look, speak, or believe differently. We do so because they demonstrably generate people who try, often successfully, to kill us because we look, speak, or believe differently. Fearing this is a sensible thing to do. Defending against it is a sensible thing to do.

Rational people begin to question why leaders continue to assure them of things they know to be wrong. They wonder why they tell them not to fear that which they know to be fearful, and trust that which they know to be undependable.

islam 1

I think one answer may be that Islamists are analogous to abusive men, and their apologists play the role of the battered woman. He didn’t really mean to hit me.

(They don’t really want to blow us up, they love peace.)

 

It was my fault. I started it. I told him that he needed to get a job and stop drinking.

(It was our fault. I started it. We locked up some of the murderers and noted the fact that such murderers seem, overwhelmingly to issue forth from one group of people. We said stuff they don’t like. Of Course they would want to murder us in return.)

islam 2

 

He’s really sorry.  He’s being so nice now. I have to forgive him or he’ll get mad again.

(CAIR regrets that people died. Muslims are really worried that we will get made and hurt their feelings.)

 

All I have to do is figure out how to change so that I never do anything to set him off. .  I know if I’m nicer to him, he won’t hit me again.

(All we have to do is do everything exactly like they do, and we won’t set them off.)

 

Reality check?

Abusive men will beat and assault the women in their lives many times before they report it. They will finally either kill her, unless she finally manages to escape.

islam 3

The cycle repeats over and over, building tension, violence, contrition and affection.  Finally the learned actions no longer work.  Avoiding the things that set him off don’t matter: he will still beat her. Giving him what he wants always, being properly submissive no longer works: He will still beat her.

And in dealing with Islamism, they attack and murder over and over. They plan, prepare, attack, then we hear how the big fear is not the attackers murdering us, but the victims over reacting. No matter what the West does, it is not enough, and leads to more attacks. Many try to deny it, or excuse it, but still they beat their victims.  (Is it totally coincidental that in Islamist countries women are beaten regularly, legally, and often fatally?)

The abusive man does not cease to abuse because of what his wife or girlfriend does to change him.  He stops because either he gets help for his issues, he kills her, she kills him, or he is shot by police.

Or:

She finally manages to overcome her learned helplessness and escapes to a shelter. She finds protection from someone stronger.

For the abusers of Islamism, their victims have limited escape: the West. Most notably, the US.

They can gain safety because the US military, like the police, will react with outrage to atrocious acts. The US, like right thinking people, will defend their victims, and kill murderers until they are unable or unwilling to murder any more.

Unless the US becomes the battered victim.

martial law

It is time to remember that we are strong. It is time to stop being the helpless victim, trying desperately to placate the one who beats us at a whim, and at will.

It is time to remember that we are still, for the moment, the biggest dog on the porch. And that biting our tail, or stealing our food, is a terrible mistake.

 

Al-Qaeda warns of more lone wolves

28 Dec

Jihadist magazine hails recent atrocities, predicts more lone wolves and gives new bomb-making recipe

 isis 2
 
 
 
 
 

 Glossy Jihadist magazine hails recent atrocities predicts more lone wolves and gives new bomb making recipe

Nasr bin Ali al-Ansi, a top commander for Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula Photo: AFP/Getty/Site

Gloating over a wave of recent atrocities, Sheikh Nasr Al Ansi said more were to come in an interview with a glossy Jihadist magazine, Inspire.

Slickly produced and chilling in its content, the magazine not only hails the work of the lone wolf, but also provides the recipe for another bomb which, it claims, will be undetectable at many airports.

Western intelligence experts have voiced fears at the threat posed by individual jihadists without obvious connections to Islamist militants.

Their fears appear to be well-founded, according to the interview.

“Because some deaths are caused by a thousand cuts. And a small blood clot paralyses the whole body.”

He adds: “Allah the Almighty has facilitated for them capabilities that are absent to other Muslims: reaching the heart of the enemy’s land and other targets.”

Advice for the lone wolf ranges from how to produce a bomb to how to handle the publicity from the atrocity.

Written in the style of a commercial cookbook, the “AQ chef”, describes how commercially available ingredients can be used to make a device.

The devices can be made in a kitchen, the magazine adds.

“If a Mujahid can prepare a bomb from materials used in the kitchen instead of lab material and instead of lab materials use cooking utensils, then we have a double success and we have overcome the security hurdle.

“Generally we are trying as much as possible to move the lone Mujahid from the lab to the pharmacy and the pharmacy to the kitchen.”

ALERT: STATE DEPARTMENT WARNS OF TERROR THREATS TO U.S. CITIZENS

27 Nov

Worldwide Caution

dos 1dos 2

Bookmark this link for quick Homeland Security updates: http://www.nationalterroralert.com/

Last Updated: October 10, 2014

The Department of State is updating the Worldwide Caution to provide information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world. U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated April 10, 2014.

The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. On September 22, 2014, the United States and regional partners commenced military action against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated  terrorist organization in Syria and Iraq. In response to the airstrikes, ISIL called on supporters to attack foreigners wherever they are. Authorities believe there is an increased likelihood of reprisal attacks against U.S., Western and coalition partner interests throughout the world, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and Asia.

Kidnappings and hostage events involving U.S. citizens have become increasingly prevalent as ISIL, al Qa`ida and its affiliates have increased attempts to finance their operations through kidnapping for ransom operations. ISIL, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) are particularly effective with kidnapping for ransom and are using ransom money to fund the range of their activities. Kidnapping targets are usually Western citizens from governments or third parties that have established a pattern of paying ransoms for the release of individuals in custody.

Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests. Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, shopping malls, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad where U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays.

U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Extremists have targeted and attempted attacks on subway and rail systems, aviation, and maritime services. In the past, these types of attacks have occurred in cities such as Moscow, London, Madrid, Glasgow, and New York City.

EUROPE: Current information suggests that ISIL, al-Qa’ida, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. and Western interests in Europe. Authorities believe the likelihood of a terror attack in Europe is increased as European members of ISIL return from Syria and Iraq. Additionally, there is a continuing threat in Europe from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.  In the past several years, organized extremist attacks have been planned or carried out in various European countries. European governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions.

MIDDLE EAST and NORTH AFRICA: Credible information indicates terrorist groups also seek to continue attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East and North Africa. The U.S. government remains highly concerned about possible attacks against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests.

No part of Syria should be considered immune from violence. The security situation remains dangerous and unpredictable as a civil war between government and armed anti-government groups continues throughout the country. There is an increased threat of terrorism from groups such as ISL, al-Nusrah, as well as other extremists whose tactics include use of suicide bombers, kindappings, use of small and heavy arms, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Since the start of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in March 2011, the United States has received reports of numerous foreigners kidnapped in Syria, many of whom are still in captivity.  The majority of the victims are journalists and aid workers. U.S. citizens and other Westerners have been murdered by ISIL in Syria. Violent extremists from various countries operate in Syria and may be planning attacks against the United States and other Western targets.

A number of extremist groups also operate in Lebanon and the potential for death or injury in Lebanon exists because of periodic terrorist bombing attacks throughout the country. As a result of spillover violence from the Syria crisis, Sunni groups are active and Hizballah, a group designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization, has been present and active for many years.

U.S. citizens in Iraq remain at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence. Numerous insurgent groups, including ISIL, previously known as al-Qa’ida in Iraq, remain active and terrorist activity and violence persist in many areas of the country. ISIL and its allies control Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and have captured significant territory across central Iraq and continue to engage with Iraqi security forces in that region.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), and al-Murabitun remain active and operate primarily in southern Algeria, southwestern Libya and Tunisia in the wake of French and African intervention in northern Mali. In Algeria, terrorists sporadically attack Westerners and Algerian government targets, particularly in the Kabylie region, and near Algeria’s borders with Libya and Mali. In September, a French tourist was kidnapped and murdered by an Algerian-based terrorist group. Terrorists have targeted oil processing plants in Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. In Libya, various groups have called for attacks against U.S. citizens and U.S. interests. Terrorist organizations continue to be active in Yemen, including al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

AFRICA: Al-Qa’ida  continues to operate primarily in North Africa. Vestiges of extremist elements, including AQIM, MUJAO, and al-Murabitun continue small scale operations in northern Mali mostly related to planting land mines on lines of communication used by UN peacekeeping troops. The major parts of these groups were forced to move to southern Algeria, southwestern Libya and Tunisia in the wake of French and African intervention in northern Mali. Terrorist groups have stepped up their  rhetoric calling for additional attacks or kidnapping attempts on westerners and others, particularly those linked to support for international military intervention.

Additionally, the terrorist group AQIM has declared its intention to attack Western targets throughout the Sahel (an area that stretches across the African continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea to include Senegal, Mali, Algeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan, and Eritrea). It has claimed responsibility for kidnappings, attempted kidnappings, and the murder of several Westerners throughout the region, including southern Algeria.

Al-Shabaab assassinations, suicide bombings, hostage taking, and indiscriminate attacks in civilian-populated areas are frequent in Somalia. Terrorist operatives and armed groups in Somalia have demonstrated their intent to attack Somali authorities, the African Union Mission in Somalia, and non-military targets such as international donor offices and humanitarian assistance providers. Al-Shabaab retains its demonstrated capability to carry out attacks in government-controlled territory in Somalia and in neighboring countries such as Kenya and Djibouti.

Boko Haram, an extremist group based in northeast Nigeria, has claimed responsibility for many attacks, mainly in northern Nigeria. The first months of 2014 have seen a continued increase in Boko Haram attacks and clashes with Nigerian government security forces in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram has also targeted women and children for kidnapping, reportedly kidnapping women in northern states for marriage as “slave brides,” and kidnapping more than 200 school girls from a private school in Borno state. Boko Haram is known to descend on whole towns, robbing banks and businesses, attacking police and military installations, and setting fire to private homes. U.S. citizen missionaries in northern Nigeria have received specific written threats to their safety and well-being, although none have yet been harmed.

U.S. citizens considering travel by sea near the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Guinea, or in the southern Red Sea should exercise extreme caution, as there have been armed attacks, robberies, and kidnappings for ransom by pirates. The threat of hijacking to merchant vessels continues to exist in Somali territorial waters and as far as 1,000 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia, Yemen, and Kenya in international waters. There has also been a recent rise in piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea, including hijackings.

U.S. government maritime authorities advise mariners to avoid the port of Mogadishu and to remain at least 200 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia. In addition, when transiting around the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Guinea, or in the Red Sea, it is strongly recommended that vessels travel in convoys and maintain good communications at all times. U.S. citizens traveling on commercial passenger vessels should consult with the shipping or cruise ship company regarding precautions that will be taken to avoid hijacking incidents. Commercial vessels should review the Department of Transportation Maritime Administration’s Horn of Africa Piracy page for information on maritime advisories, self-protection measures, and naval forces in the region.

SOUTH ASIA: The U.S. government continues to receive information that terrorist groups in South Asia may also be planning attacks in the region, possibly against U.S. government facilities, U.S. citizens, or U.S. interests. The presence of al-Qa’ida, Taliban elements, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, indigenous sectarian groups, and other terror organizations, many of which are on the U.S. government’s list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens in the region. Terrorists and their sympathizers have demonstrated their willingness and ability to attack locations where U.S. citizens or Westerners are known to congregate or visit.

The presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan. Across the country, terrorist attacks frequently occur against civilian, government, and foreign targets. Attacks have included armed assaults on heavily guarded sites, including Pakistani military installations and airports. The Government of Pakistan maintains heightened security measures, particularly in the major cities. Terrorists and criminal groups regularly resort to kidnapping for ransom.

No province in Afghanistan should be considered immune from violence and crime, and the strong possibility exists throughout the country for hostile acts, either targeted or random, against U.S. and other foreign nationals at any time. Elements of the former Taliban regime and members of other terrorist organizations hostile to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and foreign nationals remain active in every province of the country.  Furthermore, travel to all areas of Afghanistan remains unsafe due to ongoing military combat operations, landmines, banditry, armed rivalry between political and tribal groups, and the possibility of insurgent attacks, including attacks using vehicle-borne or other improvised explosive devices. U.S. citizens are increasingly targeted for kidnapping. The threat situation in Afghanistan is still considered critical and is expected to remain so through the current political and military transition.

India continues to experience terrorist and insurgent activities which may affect U.S. citizens directly or indirectly. Anti-Western terrorist groups active in India include Islamist extremist groups such as Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Indian Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Lashkar-e Tayyiba. Past attacks have targeted public places, including some frequented by Westerners, such as luxury and other hotels, trains, train stations, markets, cinemas, mosques, and restaurants in large urban areas. Attacks have taken place during the busy evening hours in markets and other crowded places, but could occur at any time.

CENTRAL ASIA: Supporters of terrorist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qa’ida, the Islamic Jihad Union, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement remain active in Central Asia. These groups have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and may attempt to target U.S. government interests.

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC: Information from credible sources suggests that there is a continued risk of armed terrorist and criminal groups operating and planning attacks against foreigners, including U.S. citizens, in the East Asian and Pacific region. Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and the Abu Sayyaf Group, have cells operating throughout Southeast Asia and JI is linked to al-Qaida and other regional terrorist groups.

There is a risk of travel to the southern Philippines, specifically related to kidnapping threats in the Sulu Archipelago and the ongoing threat of violence on the island of Mindanao, particularly in Central Mindanao.

Over the past year there have been several kidnappings-for-ransom targeting foreigners in the Eastern Sabah province of Malaysia and in the southern Sulu Sea area by terrorist or insurgent groups based in the Sulu Archipelago of the Philippines. In addition to incursions on the coastal and island resorts themselves, criminal or terrorist bands may attempt to intercept boats ferrying tourists in the area.

Indonesian security forces have disrupted a number of terrorist cells, including JI, a terrorist organization that carried out several significant bombings in Jakarta and Bali over the past decade. Although Indonesian counterterrorism efforts have been successful in preventing terrorists from conducting large-scale attacks in recent years, extremists in Indonesia may demonstrate a willingness and ability to carry out small-scale violent attacks with little or no warning.

——————–
Before You Go
——————–

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens living overseas or planning to travel abroad to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  When you enroll in STEP, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.  Enrolling will also make it easier for the Embassy to contact you in the event of an emergency.  You should remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date; it is particularly important when you enroll or update your information to include a current phone number and e-mail address.

U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security.  For additional information, please refer to Traveler’s Checklist.

U.S. government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert.  These facilities may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture.  In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens.  U.S. citizens abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

As the Department of State continues to develop information on potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its Consular Information Program documents, including Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, Country Specific Information, and Emergency and Security Messages, all of which are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov.  Stay up to date by bookmarking our website or downloading our free Smart Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

In addition to information on the internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, from other countries, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday, Eastern Time (except U.S. federal holidays).

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