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Elderly Women Die in Stampede for Visas

Meanwhile in Afghanistan, at least 36 dead in Taliban attack
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 21, 2020 11:42 AM CDT

(Newser) – At least 11 women were trampled to death when a stampede broke out Wednesday among thousands of Afghans waiting in a soccer stadium to get visas to leave the country, officials said, per the AP. Attaullah Khogyani, the spokesman for the governor of eastern Nangarhar province, said most of those who died were elderly people. He added another 13 people, mostly women, were injured at the stadium, where they were trying to get visas to enter neighboring Pakistan. The Pakistani Embassy in Kabul said it has issued more than 19,000 visas in the past week alone after Islamabad approved a friendlier visa policy and reopened the border in September following months of closure. Millions of Afghans have fled to Pakistan to escape war and economic hardship, while thousands travel back and forth for work and business, or to receive health care.

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Separately, at least 36 Afghan police were killed in an ambush by Taliban militants in northern Afghanistan, officials said. It was the deadliest attack since the Taliban and the Afghan government began holding long-delayed peace talks last month. Rahim Danish, director of the main hospital in northern Takhar province, confirmed receiving 36 bodies and said another eight were wounded. An Afghan security official said they were in a convoy that was ambushed and that several police Humvees were set ablaze. A rep for the provincial government said the deputy police chief was among those killed. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, speaking to Parliament, said the Taliban still believe in a "false narrative of conquest" following a spate of recent attacks.

(Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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