The U.S. embassy in Yemen and consulate in Lahore, Pakistan remain closed on Monday following news that the State Department reopened the other diplomatic facilities it shuttered for fear of a terrorist attack.
Eighteen other embassies and consulates reopened on Sunday after a week of closed doors following intelligence that indicated al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula might be planning an attack on Western interests throughout the Muslim world.
This "threat stream" remains in Yemen and Pakistan, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says.
"We will continue to evaluate threats to Sana'a [Yemen] and Lahore and make subsequent decisions about the re-opening of those facilities based on that information," she said in a written statement Friday. "We will also continue to evaluate information about these and all of our posts and to take appropriate steps to best protect the safety of our personnel, American citizens traveling overseas and visitors to our facilities."
The move to close the embassies highlighted the difficult balance between protecting U.S. citizens abroad while allowing the kind of openness necessary to conduct diplomacy. Critics said the administration's decision last week made the U.S. appear weak.
The embassy closure in Yemen also accompanied a rise in drone strikes against suspected al-Qaida militants there. An attack on Saturday – the ninth in the previous two weeks –killed as many as five in a vehicle traveling through Lajh province, reports The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which tracks drone strikes.
A previous strike on July 28 killed as many as eight Taliban fighters in Pakistan, the bureau reports.
Reporters at a press conference on Friday asked President Barack Obama to square these attacks with his claims in May that the core of al-Qaida is on the way to defeat.
"Core al-Qaida is on its heels, has been decimated," Obama said. "But what I also said was that al-Qaida and other extremists have metastasized into regional groups that can pose significant dangers."
"They have the capacity, potentially, to go after our businesses. They have the capacity to be destabilizing and disruptive in countries where the security apparatus is weak. And that's exactly what we are seeing right now," he said.
The president added that the U.S. is "not going to completely eliminate terrorism," but it can weaken it and strengthen overseas partnerships to prevent another attack on the scale of Sept. 11, 2001.
The Daily Beast reported last week that intelligence gleaned from a tapped "conference call" between top AQAP leadership prompted the closure. The call provided insight into how Ayman al-Zawahiri, considered the successor to Osama bin Laden and leader of AQAP, conducts business.