Kabul, October 21:

At least 12 women were trampled to death and 12 others injured during a stampede which occurred while a high crowd had gathered in Afghanistan’s Jalalabad city on Wednesday to collect Pakistani visas, officials said.

The incident occurred near the Pakistan Consulate, TOLO News quoted Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the Nangarhar provincial government, as saying.

Hundreds of people gather for Pakistani visas outside the Consulate on a daily basis, with some even spending the whole night waiting in line

Reacting to the incident, Mansoor Ahmad Khan, Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan, tweeted: “Deeply saddened at the reports of casualties at a stadium in Jalalabad, 5 km from Pakistani Consulate where visa applicants were being organized by Afghan provincial authorities. We sympathize with the families of victims.

“We are engaged with Afghan authorities for better facilitation of visa applicants. We are committed to continue visa issuance to Afghan nationals under new visa policy while making the process smoother and streamlined at our end,” he said.

The incident comes after the Pakistan Embassy in Kabul announced on October 13 that it had taken urgent measures to facilitate Pakistani visas for Afghan nationals, adding that the Consulates in Jalalabad, Kandahar, Herat and Mazar-e-sharif have also “started issuing visas to Afghan nationals in their respective jurisdictions”.

Under the new visa policy, long term multiple visas were being issued to the Afghan nationals to visit Pakistan for “medical treatment, family matters, business, education and other purposes”, the embassy had said.