At least 15 Afghans have been reported dead and more than a dozen injured in a stampede near a Pakistani consulate in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday
The stampede occurred in a stadium in Jalalabad city where an estimated 3,000 Afghans had gathered to secure visas from the consulate, officials said on Wednesday.
To avoid large crowds from gathering at the visa centre, the applicants had been directed to a nearby football stadium in Jalalabad, Afghan provincial governor’s spokesperson said.
Many people were trampled when they tried to exit the stadium in the city of Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, an Afghan spokesman Zaher Adel said. Images taken after the stampede showed scores of passports strewn across the ground.
11 out of 15 casualties were women while several senior citizens were also wounded.
The embassy of Pakistan in Afghanistan in a press release has expressed its deep grief and sadness over the report of loss lives due to the incident. It further stated that the embassy sympathizes with the families of departed souls.
“Pakistan has recently announced its new visa policy for enhanced facilitation of Afghan nationals for long term multiple entry visas” it said.
The Pakistan consulate had resumed issuing visas last week after a seven month pause because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Thousands of Afghans from Nangarhar and other nearby provinces had arrived since the early morning to apply for medical visas or to visit relatives.
Pakistan hosts millions of Afghan refugees for the purpose of education, employment and medical treatment each year.