A photo of a woman with severe injuries to her face is being shared online with a false claim that it shows Silsila Alikhil - daughter of Afghanistan's ambassador to Pakistan, whose kidnapping and release has further strained relations between the two countries. BOOM found that the viral photo is of an injured Gul Chahat, a transgender woman. Chahat is a TikTok star from Pakistan
Afghanistan foreign ministry issued a press release on July 17 about 27-year-old Alikhil's kidnapping and expressed concern over the safety of Afghan ministers and diplomats and their family in Pakistan.
Afghanistan has seen a rise in violence with Taliban seizing border posts, even as US and NATO troops start withdrawing from the region as President Joe Biden announced an end to the US military mission in the country. As violence escalates, the Afghan government has become vocal against Pakistan, accusing them of providing a safe haven to Taliban and aiding in the insurgency have become more vocal.
The photo shows Chahat, her face tear-streaked and bloody with injuries and is being shared with a caption that says, "Daughter of Afghan ambassador who was kidnapped from Jinnah Super, Islamabad & thrown away after 6 hours of torture near Tehzeeb Bakery, Blue Area, Islamabad, badly tortured."
Right leaning website OpIndia also carried the same photo as their cover photo in a story about the Alikhil's story.
View an archive here
We noticed that replies called out the viral tweets and identified the person in the photo as Gul Chahat, a transgender and TikTok star from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region in Pakistan. A reverse image search for the viral photo with the keyword as Gul Chahat led us to a Facebook page run by Chahat where she had uploaded the same photo on July 16.
Chahat in a series of Facebook videos showed her injuries and alleged that she had been beaten up by someone named in Shoaib. In a Facebook live video uploaded on July 16, Chahat asked for support.
We then searched for Chahat and found a news story from September 14, 2020 published in TheNews.com a Pakistani media outlet where she was described as a transgender woman who is popular on video sharing site TikTok. The article from 2020 spoke about growing attacks on transgender persons in Pakistan and the Khyber region.
A search for photos of Silsila Alikhil led us to a tweet by Najibullah Alikhil, her father where he shared a photo of his daughter and referred to posts on social media where the wrong photo was being shared. Najibullah's tweet when translated reads, "I was forced to post a picture of my daughter Silsila Alikhil here, because someone else's picture was posted incorrectly on social media, even though I don't know her at all. Thank you
Claim Review : Photo of Silsila Alikhil, daughter of Afghanistans ambassador to Pakistan who was kidnapped and beaten
Claimed By : OpIndia, Social media posts
Fact Check : False
. 📧 📣 📝