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US pulls staff from Lahore consulate over 'threats'

09 august 2013, 15:44
0
©AFP
©AFP
The United States on Thursday evacuated all non-emergency staff from its consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, citing "specific threats" amid a worldwide alert over Al-Qaeda intercepts, AFP reports.

The travel warning issued by the State Department also warned US citizens against all "non-essential" travel to Pakistan.

"On August 8, 2013, the Department of State ordered the departure of non-emergency US government personnel from the US Consulate General in Lahore, Pakistan," it said.

"The Department of State ordered this drawdown due to specific threats concerning the US Consulate in Lahore.

"The presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a potential danger to US citizens throughout Pakistan."

The latest warning comes after some two dozen US diplomatic missions were closed earlier this week, reportedly because of intercepted messages from Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to the terror network's Yemeni franchise.

Until now the security alert had focused on Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemen-based group which has made several attempts to attack the United States in recent years and is widely seen as the terror group's most sophisticated offshoot.

US officials have said Al-Qaeda's core leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been decimated in recent years, citing the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden and the killing of several senior operatives in US drone strikes.

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