Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Kidnapping Threats

U.S. Embassy Kabul

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Kidnapping Threats

September 21, 2017

The threat to U.S. citizens of kidnapping and hostage taking is very high in Afghanistan. The U.S. Embassy continues to receive reports of kidnap-for-ransom groups targeting foreigners, including doctors and other medical professionals, teachers, aid workers, and visitors. The U.S. Embassy takes these threats seriously and advises U.S. citizens to remain vigilant and exercise good personal security by varying your travel routes and times. U.S. citizens in Afghanistan are encouraged to minimize non-essential travel, especially to predictable places. The U.S. Embassy also recommends avoiding areas where Westerners are known to congregate, and not discussing travel plans or other personal matters with strangers, or in public.

In accordance with the Travel Warning for Afghanistan , the Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Afghanistan. The security situation in Afghanistan is extremely unstable, and the threat to all U.S. citizens in Afghanistan remains critical. U.S. citizens currently visiting or residing in Afghanistan may wish to consider departing. The Embassy strongly urges U.S. citizens who decide to remain in Afghanistan to be alert and aware of your surroundings, travel with mobile phones or appropriate communication equipment, monitor local media for updates, and maintain a high level of vigilance.

For further information:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warning for Afghanistan, Travel Alerts, and Afghanistan Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy, which is located at Great Massoud Road between Radio Afghanistan and the Ministry of Public Health in Kabul. To reach the American Citizen Services (ACS) unit of the Consular Section during business hours, please call 0700-114-000 or send an email to You can also reach the ACS unit through the Embassy’s switchboard by calling 0700-108-001/002. For after-hours emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please call the Consular Duty Officer at 0700-10-8001.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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