A man was crushed to death in a stampede at a key Afghanistan-Pakistan border crossing on Thursday, as hundreds pushed forward in their attempt to flee the country. There was a massive rush of people who missed the last evacuation flights leaving the Kabul airport, according to a CNN report. More than 1,15,000 Afghan refugees have been evacuated, the report stated.
The stampede reportedly took place after Pakistan temporarily closed the Chaman border crossing, which connects to Spin Boldak in Kandahar province of Afghanistan. A video of the stampede, also shared by CNN, has gone viral and shows hundreds desperately trying to enter Pakistan.
A former TOLO News journalist has claimed that four persons had died in the stampede. He also shared the video on Twitter. “The image of the misery of a nation; Pakistan-Afghanistan border through #Spinboldak o #Kandahar is closed. Due to crowd 4 people killed. Thousands of people including women and children are sleeping near the borderline right now,” posted Muslim Shirzad on Twitter along with the video.
The image of the misery of a nation; Pakistan-Afghanistan border through #Spinboldak o #Kandahar is closed. Due to crowd 4 people killed. Thousands of people including women and children are sleeping near the borderline right now. pic.twitter.com/I4ZCAMDOPJ— Muslim Shirzad (@MuslimShirzad) September 2, 2021
Pakistan closed the border in fear of an influx of refugees eager to leave Afghanistan after the Taliban took over last month. Earlier in the day, Pakistan interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had said the Chaman crossing might be closed for some days due to security threats, according to a report in The Indian Express. “We will be closing the Chaman crossing for a while,” the report quoted him as saying.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, Islamabad denied entry to about 5,000 Afghans at the Spin Boldak crossing on Wednesday as reported by CNN.
The CNN report also mentioned that fear of the Taliban was not the only reason behind thousands of refugees fleeing, but also economic distress. For now, Pakistan’s message to the international community was to accept the Taliban and establish strategic ties with the military group as, otherwise, the refugee crisis at the border would continue to grow, the report said.