An undated video showing a man dangling from a helicopter in Afghanistan's Kandahar city, went viral on Tuesday with a false claim that it showed a barbaric execution of a 'US interpreter' by the Taliban.
However, other videos and photos of the incident proved the claim to be false as they showed that the man was alive and wearing a harness.
The viral video was tweeted by Zee News Editor-in-chief Sudhir Choudhary with the caption, "Another landmark picture taking the world in a new era of terror. Taliban hang a person, presumed to be an American interpreter, from a U.S. Blackhawk helicopter. The left over US helicopters will now be used in #Afganistan like this."
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The same video was aired by Arnab Goswami-led Republic TV, which ran a whole debate on the video claiming that it showed Taliban hanging a man from a US Black Hawk chopper.
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Several other Indian news outlets including Aaj Tak, News 24, News 18, WION News, Navbharat Times, Dainik Bhaskar, Amar Ujala, Zee Hindustan, ABP News and right-leaning website OpIndia misreported the video too.
Origins of the video
The viral video was initially tweeted on August 30, 2021, by the Twitter account Talib Times with the caption, "Our Air Force! At this time, the Islamic Emirate's air force helicopters are flying over Kandahar city and patrolling the city".
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BOOM also found that the same clip was earlier posted on Telegram by Tabasum Radio, an Afghan radio station, whose watermark can be seen in the video. However, there was no claim that it showed a man being hanged by the Taliban.
Different angles from the incident show the man wearing a harness and waving
We also found several other videos and photos that showed that the man spotted in the viral clip, could be seen wearing a harness and waving his hand, which established that he is alive and that a harness was mistaken for a noose around the man's neck.
On searching with keywords such as 'Kandahar', 'helicopter', we found a video posted on Facebook shot from a different angle which showed the man moving his hands at the beginning of the clip. The video was posted by the user Khan Mohammad Ayan, with the caption when translated stated that the Taliban had tried to hoist their flag at the governor's office using a helicopter in Kandahar.
The man's hand can be seen moving in the image below
We also found another video, shot from near the governor's office building which shows the same helicopter, and the flag poles seen from below while the helicopter is hovering above it
The video was posted by a local reporter in Kandahar - Arghand Abdulmanan with the caption when translated reads, "The plane arrived at the Kandahar governor's office to hoist the flag, One of the soldiers was also hoisted on a plane to raise the flag, but did not fly."
This states that the man seen in the video is a Taliban soldier who was trying to hoist a Taliaban flag.
Additionally, we also found photographs tweeted by the account Jahid Jalal (@A_Jahid_Jalal). Jalal had also posted a video shot from a different angle than the viral video.
On zooming in the photo, we can see that the man has raised his hand
Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of fact-checking site Alt News also found a video that showed the man moving his hands.
Afghan reporter states that the man seen in the viral video was trying to hoist a Taliban flag
Afghan journalist Bilal Sarwary quote tweeted a tweet with the false claim stating that the Afghan pilot flying the helicopter is known to him and stated that the man seen in the viral video is a Taliban fighter who was trying to install a Taliban flag from the air but that it didn't work.
Additionally, the BBC reporting on the viral video quoted that several Afghanistan experts, quoting Taliban sources, had told the BBC that the flight was an attempt to fix a flag over a public building using their newly-captured US-built equipment.
BOOM was not able to independently verified who the helicopter belonged to.
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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