An image of a group of people sitting inside an aircraft is viral on social media with claims that it is a photo of the Indian Air Force airlifting 800 people from Afghanistan after the Taliban militia took over the capital city of Kabul.
According to reports, India evacuated the second batch of Indian nationals from Kabul using an IAF C-17 heavy-lift aircraft after negotiations for over 24 hours on August 16. In a tweet Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi wrote , "In view of the prevailing circumstances, it has been decided that our Ambassador in Kabul and his Indian staff will move to India immediately." Indian ambassador to Afghanistan Rudrendra Tandon was also on the flight along with 120 other diplomats, officials and civilians, reported the Hindustan Times.
While Indian and US Air Force have airlifted civilians, the image circulating online is old and not from Afghanistan.
The Taliban, hard-line Islamic militia from Afghanistan, reconquered the country on August 15, two weeks before US troops were scheduled for a complete pullout. Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani reportedly fled the country as the Taliban took control of the presidential palace in Kabul.
The Hindi caption with the photo translates to, "Those who cannot understand they must know that the picture shows an inside glimpse of Indian Air Force's C-17 Globemaster aircraft. C-17 Globemaster airlifted 800 people from Kabul... Probably, it is a new record. Anything is possible if Modi is there."
(Original Text in Hindi: जिन्हें नहीं समझ आ रहा वो जान लें यह भारतीय वायुसेना के C-17 ग्लोब मास्टर जहाज के अंदर का दृश्य है। C-17 ग्लोब मास्टर जिसमें 800 लोगों को एक साथ काबुल से एयरलिफ्ट किया गया है.... सम्भवतः एक नया रिकॉर्ड होगा। मोदी है तो मुमकिन है)
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The same photo is viral on Twitter with a similar caption.
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BOOM found that the photo shows a rescue and evacuation operation conducted by the US Air Force in Philippines after a typhoon hit the country in November 2013. The same photo was published in the April 2014 edition of the Air Force magazine with the caption, "Some 670 refugees from Tacloban pack a C-17 during evacuation to Manila. The aircraft and its crew deployed from JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for Operation Damayan.".
Further, we did a keyword search and found the photo on US Air Force's website. Excerpt from the caption reads, "More than 670 Tacloban residents sit on board a C-17 Globemaster III before being evacuated to Manila following Super Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines Nov. 17, 2013. The C-17 is deployed from the 535th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, to Clark Air Base in the Philippines in support of Operation Damayan, a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief effort. In addition to the safe transport of the passengers, the Hickam based crew also successfully delivered more than 100,000 pounds of cargo."
More images from the incident can be seen here. We also found the photo published by Daily Mail in an article from August 16, 2021 with the caption stating it is from a 2013 incident. The caption reads, "In 2013, the US Air Force put 670 people on a C-17 to rescue them from a typhoon in the Philippines. 800 - the number reported to have been flown out of Kabul on Sunday - sets a new record."
According to reports, a powerful typhoon hit the central Philippines killing an estimated 10,000 people and displaced more than 600,000 in November 2013.
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