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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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
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/