A local government spokesman said the incident was caused by the large crowd that gathered at a stadium to obtain a visa for Pakistan.

Visa applications were recently resumed after a seven-month hiatus in the wake of the pandemic, and authorities set up a stadium office instead of the official visa center in Jalalabad.

An official from Jalalabad reported that people crowded to get their visas and “the crowd got out of control, creating a mess.”

Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan said he was “deeply saddened” by the incident and that his country was “cooperating with the Afghan authorities to facilitate the application process”.

“I am deeply saddened by reports of casualties at a stadium in Jalabad, 5 kilometers from the Pakistani consulate, where Afghan provincial authorities have arranged visa applications. We empathize with the families of the victims, “Pakistani Ambassador Mansoor Ahmad Khan wrote on Twitter.

In Afghanistan, a conservative Muslim country, men and women stand in separate queues.

Afghans usually travel to neighboring Pakistan every year to visit relatives, medical treatment and work.

The Pakistani consulate in the eastern province of Nangarhar has set up an office on a football stadium precisely because it was expecting large numbers of people after the service was closed for several months due to the pandemic.

“Unfortunately, thousands of people came to the stadium this morning, and that’s how the tragic incident came about,” a spokesman for the provincial governor said.