Thursday, September 16, 2021
Thursday, September 16, 2021
HomeFact checkOld Video Shared With Misleading Context As “Ashraf Ghani Fleeing Afghanistan As...

Old Video Shared With Misleading Context As “Ashraf Ghani Fleeing Afghanistan As Taliban Takes Control”

Soon after Taliban fighters took control over Afghanistan’s capital city Kabul, a video was shared on social media platforms with posts that claimed it shows Afghan president Ashraf Ghani fleeing the country. 

“Ashraf Ghani fleeing Afghanistan as Taliban takes control over the country. Ghani proved how much he loves his country and the people of Afghanistan,” reads a tweet posted on 15 August. 

Screenshot of a video tweet claiming "Ashraf Ghani fleeing Afghanistan as Taliban takes control over the country."
Screenshot of a video tweet claiming “Ashraf Ghani fleeing Afghanistan as Taliban takes control over the country.”

An archived version of the post can be viewed here. This claim has been shared on Facebook as well. 

These posts were shared after Ghani fled Afghanistan on 15 August 2021 as the Taliban seized control over the country’s capital city of Kabul. As per RIA news agency, Ghani “had fled the country with four cars and a helicopter full of cash and had to leave some money behind as it would not all fit in,” reported Reuters

While Ghani’s current whereabouts are not entirely known, he said, “To avoid bloodshed, I thought it would be better to leave.”  

Also Read: Viral Screenshot Claiming “CNN Praises Taliban For Wearing Masks During Attack” Is From A Satire Website

Fact Check / Verification

A combination of reverse image search of keyframes from the video and relevant keywords led us to a 15 July tweet by TOLOnews, a media organisation in Afghanistan. Their tweet included similar video footage as seen in the claim with the caption, “President Ashraf Ghani left Kabul this morning for a two-day visit to Uzbekistan, the Presidential Palace said. #Afghanistan.”

We also found a screenshot of the video in news articles from July which reported on Ghani’s visit to Uzbekistan to attend a conference. 

Footage identical to the claim’s video was published by Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport on 15 July 2021. The post states the video shows Ghani boarding a plane to Uzbekistan for a two-day official visit to attend a conference. 

A comparison of screenshots from the claim’s video (Left) and the video posted by Kabul’s airport (Right) can be seen below. 

Comparison of screenshots from a video post claiming "Ashraf Ghani fleeing Afghanistan as Taliban takes control" (Left) and the video posted by Kabul’s airport (Right)
Comparison of screenshots from a video post claiming “Ashraf Ghani fleeing Afghanistan as Taliban takes control” (Left) and the video posted by Kabul’s airport (Right)

Finally, a statement published on the Afghan government’s website on 15 July confirms that Ghani “left Kabul for Uzbekistan to participate in the International Conference “Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity; Challenges and Opportunities”. It includes a screenshot from the same video. 

Screenshot of a statement from Afghan government website titled, "President Ghani leaves Kabul for Uzbekistan"
Screenshot of a statement from the Afghan government website titled, “President Ghani leaves Kabul for Uzbekistan”

Also Read: Centre Has NOT Decided To Expand Supreme Court With Three More Branches, Fake Claim Goes Viral

Conclusion

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s video has been shared online with misleading context. The video has been online since July, one month before the Taliban seized control of the capital city, Kabul. 

Result: Misplaced Context

Our Sources

TOLOnews: https://twitter.com/TOLOnews/status/1415517955526471683?s=20

Heart of Asia, Afghanistan: http://heartofasia.af/president-ghani-to-attend-international-summit-in-uzbekistan/

Pajhwok Afghan News: https://pajhwok.com/2021/07/15/ghani-off-to-uzbekistan-for-tashkent-conference/

Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport: https://fb.watch/7rhJQr6bjC/

Afghan Government: https://president.gov.af/en/president-ghani-leaves-kabul-for-uzbekistan/?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=pmd_9df03c87b1a65f70d98b4069d1db1253861efabd-1629195786-0-gqNtZGzNAg2jcnBszQjO


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Nikita Vashisth
Nikita is a writer and editor for English fact-checking. She also leads projects to understand the misinformation and fake-news ecosystem—with an emphasis on data and psychology. Previously, she has worked with IndiaSpend, CNN-News18 and written for Citizen Matters and Mongabay-India on the environment, health, and politics. She’s a postgraduate of the Computational Journalism program at Cardiff University, Wales.

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