WASHINGTON - The United States has warned its citizens against travelling to Pakistan, citing threats posed by the presence of al-Qaeda, Taliban elements and indigenous militant sectarian groups. A travel warning issued by the State Department Wednesday also took note of the heightened security measures taken by the Pakistan government, particularly in major cities. But the department said there were indications that terror groups continued to seek opportunities to attack locations where US citizens and Westerners were known to congregate or visit, such as shopping areas, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools or outdoor recreation events. Terrorists have disguised themselves as Pakistani security forces personnel to gain access to targeted areas. Some media reports have recently falsely identified US diplomats - and to a lesser extent US and other Western journalists and NGO workers - as being intelligence operatives or private security personnel, it said in the travel alert. According to the travel alert, visits by US government personnel to Peshawar and Karachi were limited, and movements by those assigned to the Consulates General in those cities were severely restricted. US officials in Lahore and Islamabad were instructed to restrict the frequency and minimise the duration of trips to public markets, restaurants and other locations. Only a limited number of official visitors were placed in hotels, and for limited stays, it said. US citizens in Pakistan are strongly urged to avoid hotels that do not apply stringent security measures and maintain good situational awareness, particularly when visiting locations frequented by Westerners, the travel alert said, adding that US citizens throughout Pakistan had also been kidnapped for ransom or personal reasons.