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US pulls staff out of consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, due to 'specific threats'

The US has withdrawn all non-emergency staff from its consulate in Lahore and advised Americans to avoid travel to the whole of Pakistan.

US consulate Lahore Pakistan 8 9 2013Enlarge
Pakistani policemen stand guard outside the US consulate in Lahore on November 18, 2012. On August 8, 2013, the US State Department ordered all non-essential staff to leave the consulate due to "specific threats" against it. (Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images)

The United States has instructed all non-emergency staff to leave its consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, in response to threats of an attack.

They were told it was no longer safe for them to remain in their homes and that they had to move to Islamabad. Diplomatic outposts in Peshawar and Karachi remain unaffected.

The withdrawal from Lahore, near the northeast border with India, was ordered "due to specific threats concerning the US Consulate in Lahore," a State Department advisory issued late Thursday said.

The State Department also warned Americans against travel to anywhere in Pakistan, advising that "the presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a potential danger to US citizens throughout Pakistan."

"Threat reporting indicates terrorist groups continue to seek opportunities to attack locations where US citizens and Westerners are known to congregate or visit," the advisory said.

It is not clear when the Lahore consulate will reopen. 

The consulate was not one of 21 US diplomatic missions ordered closed last Sunday, nor one of the 19 told to remain closed until at least this weekend. 

The State Department didn't say whether its closure was linked to the same threat that prompted the urgent evacuation of the US embassy in Yemen on Wednesday, though one unnamed US official told the Associated Press that the two situations were not related.

The same official described the withdrawal from Lahore as a "precaution."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130809/us-consulate-lahore-pakistan-specific-threats