By Lalit K Jha
Washington, Aug 25 The United States has warned its citizens of 'continuing threats' from terrorist groups in Bangladesh and the risk of travelling to this country even as it said the security forces have carried counter terrorism operations here.
In a latest travel advisory, the Department of State warned US citizens of continuing threats from terrorist groups in Bangladesh and to consider the risks of travel to and throughout the country.
However, the Department updated its travel warning to reflect the change in the US Embassy in Dhaka's status to "partially accompanied," effective August 24.
This allows all adult family members of US government personnel to remain in or return to Dhaka.
Previously, only adult family members employed by the US government were permitted to remain or return to Dhaka.
Minor dependents are still prohibited from residing in Dhaka.
The US Embassy remains open and will provide all consular services, it said.
"While Bangladeshi security forces continue to identify and counter terrorist elements, the Islamic State of Iraq and ash Sham (ISIS) and al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) persist in their efforts to plot and/or carry out terrorist attacks throughout the country," the travel advisory said.
In March, two suicide bombing attempts occurred at Dhaka's Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport and an explosion in the city of Sylhet killed seven people.
These incidents were the first notable attacks since July 1, 2016, when terrorists killed more than 20 people, including one US citizen, in a restaurant frequented by foreigners in Dhaka's diplomatic enclave.
Similarly, in October 2016, ISIS threatened to target "expats, tourists, diplomats, garment buyers, missionaries, and sports teams" in the most "secured zones" in Bangladesh.
Recurring threats and periodic terrorist activities have prompted the Embassy to require US government personnel in Bangladesh to live, work, and travel under strict security guidelines, the travel advisory said.
US government officials and their adult family members are not permitted to travel on foot, motorcycle, bicycle, rickshaw, or other uncovered means on public thoroughfares and sidewalks in Bangladesh.
In addition, US government officials and their family members remain severely restricted in their ability to visit public establishments and places, or to attend large gatherings in Bangladesh.