In recent times, media reports have highlighted numerous violations of civil liberties in Afghanistan since the Taliban came to power. The United Nation has expressed deep concern over the violations of human rights in the country.
In this context, a video has been doing the rounds on social media claiming to be a footage of the Taliban destroying smart phones in Afghanistan after they banned the use of mobile phones and music.
The video shows uniformed men emptying bags of mobile devices and smashing several phones with their feet.
A Facebook post with the claim ‘Taliban bans cell phones’ saying it’s evil’ has garnered around 3000 views.
The same video is also being shared widely on Twitter with similar claims:
Afghanistan has been in the news recently with several reports highlighting the targeted killings of of journalists, media workers and women activists by the Taliban who overthrew the civilian government in mid-2021. The stringent laws pertaining to the philosophy of Taliban have been well documented in the past when they were last in power before they were forced out by the US led forces in 2001. The strict imposition of burqa for women, men growing their beards along with the imposition to offer namaz at mosques have been part of the Taliban’s agenda to counter western influences that might “destroy the youth” of Afghanistan.
Newschecker began by verifying if the Taliban had issued an order on banning the use of cell phones in Afghanistan. On conducting a keyword search, Newschecker didn’t find reports by any media house on the matter but found a story reported by adn.com according to which the Taliban threatened women who used smartphones.
According to a website gandhara.rferl.org, the Taliban had imposed a ban on mobile phones and music in August, 2020 in the Ghazni province which lies in the southeastern part of Afghanistan. But we found no such report of a nationwide ban.
Upon performing a reverse image of the key-frames of the video in question, Newschecker found a tweet from 11 January, 2020 with a text in Swahili which claims that “Afghanistan’s TALIBAN government has banned the use of the smartphone, calling it the EYE OF THE DEVIL and who will refuse and use a cell phone when arrested should be sentenced to death as a lesson to others.” This video has better quality and the frame has more clarity than the previous videos.
On studying the video closely, we notice that the officer in uniform, who is seen destroying the mobile phones, has the Pakistan flag on his uniform. This shows that the video in question is from Pakistan and not Afghanistan.
Subsequent search yielded a video posted on Facebook on December 29, 2021 from the ID KarachiNews21, which shows the frames as seen in the viral video.
The caption of the post, which is in Urdu, reads “Customs seizes and burns smuggled drugs. 249 kg of drugs, more than 55,000 bottles of liquor are being destroyed and burnt.
Cigarettes, tobacco, glass flavours and mobile phones are also being destroyed.
More than one lakh kilos of ghatga is also being burnt. Miscellaneous chemicals, snuff and other prohibited items including cosmetics are also being disposed of. The seized goods are worth more than Rs 2.47 billion, customs officials said.”
Upon performing a key-word search in Google with the words “Karachi”, “liquor” and “mobile phones”, the Newschecker team found a news article by a Pakistani news website The News International, which reported on the same incident.
Newschecker team also found a video on Youtube with similar visuals.
The video for December 30, 2021 is titled ‘Pakistan Customs Destruction Ceremony’.
The video was accompanied by a statement which said: “The Collectorate of Customs (Enforcement) in Karachi on Wednesday organized a ceremony to destroy millions of rupees worth of drugs, alcohol, gutka, drugs and ammunition, as well as banned items.”
The Pakistan flag and badge were seen on the uniform of the officials who attended the ceremony.
Our investigation proves that the video being shared is not from Afghanistan but from an earlier incident in Pakistan.
Result: Misleading/ Partly false
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