Human stampede kills at least 15 after thousands gather to apply for visas

At least 15 people have been killed in a stampede after thousands gathered to apply for visas.

They were trampled to death near Pakistan’s consulate in Afghanistan.

Out of the 15 victims 11 were women, while several senior citizens were among more than a dozen injured.

Officials said around 3,000 Afghans had arrived on the open ground, usually used for sports or pubic gatherings, in the city of Jalalabad.

The crowd was waiting to collect tokens needed to apply for a visa when the tragedy unfolded on Tuesday.

Visa applications to Pakistan have only just resumed after they were paused for seven months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jostling broke out between the throng and it grew out of control, which triggered a stampede.

Pictures taken afterwards showed scores of passports strewn across the ground.

An Afghan official said: "The visa applicants jostled to secure their token from the consulate officials.

"The crowd got out of control, leading to a stampede.”

A survivor explained how tempers frayed and the crowd became unruly in the lead up to the stampede.

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Farmanullah, who goes by a single name, said: "I stood in the queue all night but at some point people got angry and started pushing, many of us fell on the ground.”

The Pakistan embassy in Kabul issued a statement expressing "deep grief and sadness”.

Officials said Afghan authorities had been responsible for marshalling the crowd on the sports ground.

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Tens of thousands of Afghans every year travel to neighbouring Pakistan to secure jobs, education and medical treatment.

The two countries share a nearly 1,600mile border.

Pakistan hosts about 3million Afghan refugees and economic migrants, who have fled violence, religious persecution and poverty in their war-torn country.

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