At least 15 killed in Afghan stampede for visas

Stampede in Afghanistan kills several

An estimated 3,000 Afghans had congregated on the open ground outside the consulate, waiting to collect tokens needed to apply for a visa, two provincial officials told Reuters a day after the tragedy.

Expecting a large number of applicants after the long pause of the visa service, the Pakistani consulate in the eastern province of of Nangarhar, directed the crowd to a nearby football stadium. Images taken after the stampede showed scores of passports strewn across the ground.

Many people were trampled when they tried to exit the stadium in the city of Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, leaving 10 others injured, provincial hospital spokesman Zaher Adel said.

Ten other people including eight women were injured in the stampede.

"When the jostling broke out, weaker people fell to the ground and stronger people dragged themselves out of the crowd".

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

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"Unfortunately, tens of thousands of people came to the soccer stadium this morning, which led to this unfortunate incident", the statement added.

Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed sorrow over the Jalalabad stampede incident on Wednesday, saying he was "deeply saddened" by the tragic deaths of Afghans.

"We seek the understanding and cooperation of Afghan people and authorities for better and secure management of the Afghan visa applicants".

Most Afghans visit Pakistan for medical treatment or to see relatives. The two countries share an nearly 2,600-kilometer (roughly 1,600-mile) border.

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

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