Taliban attack on security forces yesterday and a stampede triggered by jostling visa applicants near Pakistan's consulate killed dozens in Afghanistan.
An estimated 3,000 Afghans had congregated on an open ground, usually used for sports or pubic gatherings, outside the consulate in Jalalabad, waiting to collect tokens needed to apply for a visa, two provincial officials told Reuters yesterday, a day after the tragedy.
"The visa applicants jostled to secure their token from the consulate officials...the crowd got out of control, leading to a stampede," said an Afghan official.
Eleven of the 15 victims were women, and several senior citizens were among more than a dozen injured, Sohrab Qaderi, a provincial council member, said. Tens of thousands of Afghans every year travel to neighbouring Pakistan to secure medical treatment, education and jobs. The two countries share a nearly 2,600-kilometre border.
Meanwhile, at least 25 Afghan security force personnel were killed in an ambush in Takhar province blamed on the Taliban, officials said yesterday, as spiralling violence imperils ongoing peace talks.
The ambush came despite assurances by the Taliban to Washington last week that they would reduce bloodshed.