Following the killing of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri, the State Department issued a heightened terrorism alert asking U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance. The request is specifically for those traveling abroad. In the alert, officials warned of possible retaliation that could be sought by terrorist groups.
“As terrorist attacks, political violence (including demonstrations), criminal activities, and other security incidents often take place without any warning, U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and practice good situational awareness when traveling abroad,” the State Department said.
Al-Zawahri was one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists, known for having a significant role in several U.S. attacks, including the most deadly on U.S. soil. He was responsible for planning the 9/11 attacks alongside Osama bin Laden.
Since the U.S. left Afghanistan, al-Qaida’s presence in the country has grown. However, the Doha agreement between the U.S. and Taliban governments prohibits the housing and protection of terrorists. On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Taliban “grossly” violated the Doha Agreement by hosting and sheltering al-Zawahri. White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby condemned the Taliban for its unwillingness to comply with the agreement.
“They can comply with their agreement under the Doha agreement, comply with their commitments on the Doha agreement, or they can choose to keep going down a different path,” Kirby said. “If they go down a different path, it’s going to lead to consequences, not just from the United States, but from the international community.”
U.S. citizens should consult country specific travel advisories and information pages on travel.state.gov. Travelers are also urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and to make it easier to locate them in an emergency. The department uses these security messages to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, and natural disasters.