29 Countries the US Government Doesn’t Want You to Go To

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1. Afghanistan
> Advisory level: Level 4: do not travel
> Last updated: July 9
> Population: 34.7 million
> GDP per capita: $580

With the Taliban and ISIS still forces to be reckoned with, the State Department has advised that travel to all areas of Afghanistan is unsafe because of high levels of kidnappings, hostage taking, suicide bombings, military combat operations, landmines, and terrorist and insurgent attacks. Terrorists have targeted Afghan and U.S. government convoys and facilities as well as non-governmental organization offices, hospitals, places of worship, restaurants, hotels, airports, and schools.

The U.S. government’s ability to provide services to Americans in Afghanistan is constrained because of the lack of infrastructure, geographic limitations, and a volatile security situation.

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2. Burkina Faso
> Advisory level: Level 3: reconsider travel
> Last updated: March 2
> Population: 18.6 million
> GDP per capita: $610

While the general advisory to Burkina Faso is level 3 – reconsider travel, the State Department advises against traveling to one region in the country — the northern Sahel border with Mali and Niger. In that region, organized criminal groups and terrorists particularly target westerners, plotting kidnappings. In the entire country — a landlocked nation in western Africa — terrorist targets could include hotels, restaurants, police stations, and schools.

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3. Burundi
> Advisory level: Level 3: reconsider travel
> Last updated: Aug. 29
> Population: 10.5 million
> GDP per capita: $280

Though westerners are not likely targets of violent crimes in Burundi, grenade attacks and armed robbery are common. Burundi police resources are inadequate to address criminal acts, according to the U.S. government. There also is lingering political tension in the African nation, whose GDP per capita of $280 is among the lowest in the world. Frequent police and military checkpoints limit the ability to move freely. The U.S. government says the provinces of Cibitoke and Bubanza are susceptible to raids from armed groups from the eastern section of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The U.S. government said it has scarce resources to provide to Americans in Burundi. The State Department added that medical services in Burundi are not up to American standards.

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4. Central African Republic
> Advisory level: Level 4: do not travel
> Last updated: May 24
> Population: 4.6 million
> GDP per capita: $380

Another high-risk country is the Central African Republic, which has been unstable since it gained independence from France in 1960. The State Department advises Americans not to travel to the CAR because of crime and civil instability. The U.S. government has raised concerns over incidences of armed robbery, aggravated battery, and homicide. Many swaths of the Central African Republic are controlled by armed groups who kidnap, injure, and kill civilians, according to the U.S. government. Because of unrest in the Central African Republic, airports, land borders, and roads may close with little advance notice.

U.S. government personnel must get permission to travel outside the embassy grounds and therefore may be limited in how much help they can provide U.S. citizens.

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5. Chad
> Advisory level: Level 3: reconsider travel
> Last updated: July 31
> Population: 14.5 million
> GDP per capita: $720

Chad has been victimized by violent crimes, such as armed robbery, carjacking, and muggings. Terrorists have targeted foreigners, local security forces, and civilians. The U.S. government says terrorists can cross Chad’s borders with little difficulty, including in the Lake Chad region. Of particular concern are unmapped minefields along the borders with Libya and Sudan.

U.S. government employees need to get special permission to travel to certain parts of the capital N’Djamena, as well as areas such as to the Lake Chad Basin.