Due to concerns about a “possible attack,” the US embassy in Islamabad on Sunday prohibited its staff from going to the city’s Marriott Hotel.
In a tweet, the embassy issued a security warning and said that the US government was “aware of information that unknown individuals are possibly plotting to attack Americans at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad sometime during the holidays”.
The embassy also advised against any “non-essential, unofficial travel in Islamabad during the holiday season” because of the city’s red alert status and the prohibition on public gatherings.
The embassy issued a warning to its employees, advising them to be vigilant at gatherings and places of worship and steer clear of crowded areas; to review their personal security plans; to carry identification; to heed police requests; to be aware of their surroundings, and to keep an eye on local media for updates.
In the meantime, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) of the UK issued a travel warning forbidding its officials from going to the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad due to “possible attack” concerns.
Additionally, the advisory advised residents to avoid visiting the districts of Baujar, Mohmand, Khyber, Orakzai, Kurram, North Waziristan, South Waziristan, Charsadda, Tank, Bannu, Lakki, Dera Ismail Khan, Swat, Buner, and Lower Dir in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, as well as the city and district of Peshawar.
The advisory prohibits officials from travelling on the N35 (or Karakoram Highway) between the Mansehra ring road and the N15/N35 Chilas interchange, the N45 road between the north of the Mardan Ring Road and the edge of the district of Chitral, Balochistan province (excluding the southern coast of Balochistan; see below), and within 10 miles of the Line of Control.
The limitations were put in place two days after a suicide bombing in the capital left one policeman dead and six others injured.
Following that, the capital administration banned all types of gatherings, particularly those related to the upcoming local government elections, for two weeks and declared a high alert in the city for 48 hours.
The Islamabad police increased security in the capital to high alert in the meantime.