Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Security During Ashura Holiday

With the Afghan observance of 10th of Muharram (Ashura) over the weekend, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul reminds U.S. citizens of the continued need for caution and vigilance regarding your personal security.  There is an increased likelihood of extremist groups targeting Shi’a Muslims in terrorist attacks during Ashura.  Maintain a high level of vigilance when visiting sites deemed particularly likely to be targeted in an attack such as religious sites, festivals, public transportation, airports, public or government buildings, embassies or consulates, international organizations, schools and universities, markets, hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners/Westerners.

Demonstrations and additional local security related to public ceremonies could lead to unexpected road closures, particularly around majority Shi’a neighborhoods, religious sites, and on major pilgrimage routes.  Monitor local news for updates and follow the instructions of local authorities.

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 review your personal security plans, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal safety, remain aware of your surroundings, 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 CautionTravel 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 0700-108-000. For after-hours emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please call the Consular Duty Officer at 0700-108-000.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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