The US has significantly revised its travel advice for Nepal. A new advisory removes mention of “sporadic incidents of terrorism and politically motivated violence” and eliminates the term “improvised explosive devices,” which had been part of the statement for more than 4 years.
A phrase that many here thought was more about politics than safety of American citizens, “the Maoists have continued to engage in violence, extortion, and abductions,” has been removed, and reference to anti-American activities is also gone.
Mention of youth group violence from the Maoist YCL and similar groups sponsored by other parties has increased in the new advisory, but warnings about the Terai, Nepal’s southern plains, have been softened. The red-flag sentence, “The U.S. Embassy strongly recommends against non-essential travel to this region,” has been removed.
A paragraph about crimes against individuals and personal safety is more extensive than before, but a phrase about police being “unwilling or unable to arrest criminals who claim Maoist affiliation” has been replaced with, “Police resources to combat such crime are limited.”
The advisory’s statement of the hazards of road travel in Nepal has grown, but another red-flag sentence about restrictions on official travel outside of Kathmandu has has been weakened a diplomatic notch from “almost all” to “most.”
The Nepal government’s most hoped-for development, removal of the Maoists from America’s terrorist exclusion lists was not part of this statement, but the paragraph describing their inclusion no longer says “Although the Government of Nepal no longer considers the Maoists to be terrorists…”
The implication is that the US government, whatever its reservations about the Maoists, is also coming to the same conclusion.
John Child is The NewsBlaze Nepal Correspondent, a journalist in Kathmandu who writes about goings-on in and around Nepal and her neighbors.