A Fourth Estate® Service

Sunday, January 24, 2021

At Least 15 People Killed during Massive Visa Application Stampede in Afghanistan

At least 15 individuals were crushed to death in a stampede near the Pakistan consulate in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, as thousands of Afghans struggle against one another while applying for visas to fly out of the country.

At least 15 individuals were crushed to death in a stampede near the Pakistan consulate in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, as thousands of Afghans struggle against one another while applying for visas to fly out of the country.

Eleven women and four men were killed and more than a dozen of individuals, including senior citizens, were injured after the crush in a soccer stadium in eastern Jalalabad city.

Sohrab Qaderi, a provincial council official of the city, said that more than 3,000 Afghans gathered outside the consulate to secure tokens required in applying for visas to enter neighbouring Pakistan.

The victims were trampled amid the crowd while trying to exit the stadium.

Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the governor of the eastern Nangarhar province, said the visa applicants went out of control while trying to collect tokens from consulate officials, resulting to the “tragic incident”.

The Pakistan consulate had just resumed issuing visas last week after suspending its services for seven months due to the unprecedented coronavirus outbreak.

Thousands of Afghans travel to Pakistan every year to secure medical treatment, education and employment in the neighbouring country.

Pakistan’s ambassador Mansoor Ahmad Khan said he was “deeply saddened” by the tragic incident.

“We are engaged with Afghan authorities for better facilitation of visa applicants,” the senior envoy said. “We are committed to continue visa issuance to Afghan nationals under new visa policy while making the process smoother and streamlined at our end.”

 

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