Movement restrictions and police cordons are expected in the vicinity of Kabul International Airport (Hamid Karzai International Airport, KBL), Airport Road, and Massoud Square on Sunday, January 28, and Monday, January 29, due to the expected arrival of Indonesian President Joko Widodo for an official visit on Monday. On Sunday, local sources reported that Indonesian flags had been positioned along Airport Road and posters of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Indonesian President Widodo currently adorn Massoud Square. Transportation disruptions, including increased security checkpoints, are to be anticipated for the duration of the visit.
Security measures are expected to be particularly heightened in light of the two recent major attacks that have struck Kabul in the past two weeks. The death toll from the most recent attack, in which attackers detonated explosives from inside an ambulance in the vicinity of Sadarat Square and Chicken Street markets on Saturday, January 27, had surpassed 100 as of Sunday. This weekend's suicide blast came just one week after at least 22 people were killed in the January 20-21 attack on the Intercontinental Hotel. Both attacks have been claimed by the Taliban. President Ashraf Ghani announced a national day of mourning to be held on Sunday, January 28, as well as a nationwide holiday on Monday to allow families of victims to hold burials and grieve. Many administrative offices and businesses will likely remain closed through Monday.
Individuals present in Kabul are advised to anticipate travel disruptions (including increased security checkpoints) in the coming days and to adhere to all official directives.
Due to major security concerns more generally, individuals throughout Afghanistan are urged to keep a safe distance from large gatherings, military convoys, government buildings, and crowded urban areas. Many Western governments advise their citizens against travel to Afghanistan due to the high threat of kidnapping and terrorism, including frequent attacks against Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, local civilians and politicians, and individuals working in the humanitarian and reconstruction fields. Travel to the country should only be undertaken with proper security protocols in place.
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