WASHINGTON - US citizens should avoid travel to Pakistan, the State Department said on Thursday in a fresh warning that follows numerous protests, demonstrations and rallies in Pakistan that US officials said are likely to continue.

The department advised Americans to put off any non-essential travel to the country and "strongly urged" those who are already there to avoid protests and large gatherings.

"The presence of al-Qaida, Taliban elements, and indigenous militant sectarian groups poses a potential danger to US citizens throughout Pakistan," the State Department said in a statement.

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