A photo claiming to show a tweet supposedly by Al Jazeera stating the Taliban are abducting minor girls in Afghanistan, is fake as the image is morphed and no such tweet by the news outlet exists.
A spokesperson for the Al Jazeera Media Network told BOOM that the image is a complete fabrication.
The image, which is a screenshot, also shows a photo where a play by Afghan women artists has been falsely represented as an actual kidnapping.
The photo is being shared as the hardline Islamic fundamentalist group take control of Afghanistan and as the world worries about the fate of Afghan women who were deprived of basic human rights during their the Taliban's rule in the nineties.
The fake tweet's screenshot appears to show a 'breaking news' tweet by the Al Jazeera English news channel and the image of a young girl in distress while trying to escape a group of men.
The tweet reads, "#BreakingNews Taliban started abducting minor girls from their home. The parents who are refusing to give their daughters to Taliban are being killed by Taliban Fighters."
Click here to see the post.
Several Facebook users have also shared the photo as part of a collage with a screenshot of a tweet by Indian TV news channel NDTV. The NDTV Tweet reads, "@OnRealityCheck 48 hours since the Taliban has seized power by the barrel of the gun in Afghanistan, it has attempted to suggest it is no longer the dreaded near-medieval terror outfit of old.
BOOM reached out to the Qatar based news outlet for comment.
"Al Jazeera confirms that the Twitter image in question is completely fabricated. It has no connection of any kind to Al Jazeera or its editorial," Ihtisham Hibatullah, Manager of International Communications, Al Jazeera Media Network told BOOM.
Not Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera English's verified Twitter handle is @AJEnglish , and Al Jazeera Breaking News' verified handle is @AJENews. The viral screenshot mixed up both the handles and has erroneously written Al Jazeera English's handle as @AJEnews. Furthermore, Al Jazeera is misspelt as Al Jajeera.
Additionally, BOOM found that the viral image is a protest drama by Afghan women through a re-enactment of the mob lynching of Farkhunda Malikzada.
We ran a reverse search on the photograph in the viral screenshot and found a report crediting Los Angles Times on March 19, 2016 on Hartford Courant, a Hartford, Connecticut, United States headquartered news organisation. The same image was also featured on an original LA Times report.
The original image was clicked by Associated Press (AP) photographer Rahmat Gul that can be seen on the AP Image archive. The caption reads, "Afghan artists re-enact the mob murder of Farkhunda Malikzada, 27, an Afghan woman who was beaten to death on March 19, 2015 after being falsely accused of burning a copy of the Quran, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, March 17, 2016. The performance marked the inauguration of a memorial monument built in her honor at the site of her murder. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)"
Farkhunda Malikzada was a student of religious studies whose killing sparked public outrage in Afghanistan. According to a March 2016 report by news agency Khama Press, "at least 17 suspects were awarded jail terms, which include 20 years term for 3 of the perpetrators, 16 years term for 13 perpetrators and another perpetrator sentenced jailed for 10 years." In July 2015, an Afghan court overturned the death sentences of four men convicted for her killing. BBC made a documentary about the incident titled, The Killing of Farkhunda.
NDTV's tweet on Taliban Press Meet
The image of the tweet by NDTV was a show hosted by group editor Sreenivasan Jain which was aired on August 17, 2020. The show was based on first press conference by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid after their takeover of Afghanistan. Watch their full show here.
BOOM has been debunking viral misinformation and disinformation since the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan. You can view our fact-check articles in the thread below.
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