The State Department has been forced to stand down most of its diplomats, situated in Lahore and Pakistan. The extraction order was issued in response to an alleged terror threat, aimed at the United States consulate.
According to CNN, senior State Department officials had this to say:
“We have picked up what we regard as a threat worthy of taking this action.”
Only a handful of emergency staff remain at their posts, as non-essential personnel were vacated from the premises, under the signaled departure order. The diplomats are said to have been transferred to the country’s capital, Islamabad.
A recent travel warning, declared by the State Department, hinted at the possible reason for the sudden evacuations:
“The presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan.”
It is also premature to draw any connection between today’s withdrawals, in Lahore and Pakistan, and the closure of a number of U.S. facilities, last Sunday, across the Middle East.
These measures come in the wake of intensified security protocols, implemented by the local government in the province of Punjab, where Lahore is situated, and involved the erection of police checkpoints at the city’s various entrances. The measures were adopted in light of a suspected terror plot, acquired from intelligence sources, close to the end of Ramadan.
There is, as of yet, no reports as to when evacuated staff members are expected to return to their stations.
By: James Fenner