Visa Melee Leads to Stampede, Deaths in Afghanistan
At least 15 people in the eastern Afghanistan city of Jalalabad were killed on Wednesday in a stampede that ripped through a crowd of thousands waiting to apply for visas to Pakistan. The incident took place in a stadium outside the city’s Pakistani consulate. Visa hopefuls were waiting to be given numbers for appointments and jostling for position when altercations broke out, leading to the stampede, which also injured dozens. The dead reportedly included 11 women. The consulate resumed issuing visas last week after a seven-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. Tens of thousands of Afghan citizens travel each year to Pakistan for schooling or medical treatment, or in search of jobs. A statement from Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital city, expressed “deep grief and sadness” over the casualties in Jalalabad while blaming Afghani officials for the conditions that led to the stampede. Afghanistan shares a border of about 1,600 miles with Pakistan.