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Deadly stampede as large crowd gathers outside Pakistani consulate in Afghanistan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Afghans stand over abandoned shoes after a stampede, outside the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on October 21, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

At least 15 people have been killed and dozens injured in a stampede outside the Pakistani consulate in Afghanistan’s eastern city of Jalalabad.

The incident took place on Tuesday after a jostling broke out as an estimated 3,000 Afghans  had gathered outside the consulate to collect tokens needed to apply for a visa.

Sohrab Qaderi, a member of the Nangarhar provincial council, told Reuters on Wednesday that 11 of the 15 victims were women, adding that several senior citizens were among the injured.

“The visa applicants jostled to secure their token from the consulate officials… the crowd got out of control, leading to a stampede,” said an unnamed official in Jalalabad.

​Relatives carry the coffin of a victim who was killed in a stampede, outside a mortuary in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on October 21, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Every year, tens of thousands of Afghans travel to neighboring Pakistan to secure medical treatment, receive education, and find jobs. Pakistan hosts about three million Afghan refugees and economic migrants, who have fled violence, religious persecution, and poverty in their war-torn country.

Pakistan and Afghanistan share a nearly-2,600-kilometer, largely porous border. The two countries are in a dispute over the demarcation of the border, which is a key battleground in the fight against the Taliban.

Pakistan and Afghanistan regularly accuse each other of supporting and providing sanctuary to militants. Both sides, however, deny such allegations.

Eastern and northern Afghanistan have witnessed an expansion of the presence of Daesh terrorists in recent years. The notorious group has been mostly populating Nangarhar, from where it has planned attacks on major population centers across the country.

Jalalabad has been the scene of frequent acts of terror by Taliban and Daesh.

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