Soon after the Taliban fighters entered Kabul and took over Afghanistan’s presidential palace, social media posts claiming “CNN praises Taliban for wearing masks during attack” went viral.
Social media posts included a screenshot of an article titled, “CNN Praises Taliban For Wearing Masks During Attack.” Dated 14 August, the article’s lead image includes CNN’s logo and a breaking news ticker that reads, “Taliban fighters responsibly wearing masks.”
Many users on Twitter and Facebook shared this claim. One such user’s tweet reads, “CNN praises Taliban for wearing masks during butchering of innocent people. What a News @CNN i mean great #TalibanTakeover #TalibanConquest #Talibans”
Another Twitter user shared the screenshot in context with the caption, “Don’t know why @ndtv is left behind in glorifying Taliban today. #KabulHasFallen.”
An archived version of the post can be found here.
The virality of the claim on Facebook can be seen below.
Fact Check / Verification
The screenshot of the article titled, “CNN Praises Taliban For Wearing Masks During Attack,” includes attribution to a website called BabylonBee.com.
On visiting BabylonBee.com we found that the article in context was published on 14 August 2021 and shared over 160K times at the time of writing this fact-check. We also found that this is a satire site. The ‘About Us’ section of the website reads, “The Babylon Bee is the world’s best satire site, totally inerrant in all its truth claims. We write satire about Christian stuff, political stuff, and everyday life.”
Additionally, we performed a reverse image search of the satire article’s lead image and found that it is a 2007 file photo by Reuters. The caption along with this image published in June 2012 reads, “Masked Pakistani pro-Taliban militants who are supporters of Maulana Fazlullah, a hardline cleric, stand guard at Charbagh, a Taliban strong hold, near Mingora, the main town of Pakistan’s Swat valley lying close to Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt bordering Afghanistan in this November 2, 2007 file photo.”
Social media posts claiming “CNN praises Taliban for wearing masks during attack” are false. The viral screenshot was first published on a satire website called BabylonBee.com.