Times Now ran an old video from Wales, United Kingdom of a United State Air Force (USAF) fighter jet training in the mountains claiming it shows Pakistani fighter jets helping Taliban weaken the resistance in Panjshir valley of Afghanistan.
BOOM found that the video shows the USAF's F-15 fighter jet from the RAF Lakenheath, one of the few US operated airbases in the UK training in the Mach Loop region - a series of valleys in Wales, known for their use by military agencies as a training ground for low-level flying of fast jet aircraft.
The channel ran the visual of a lone fighter jet soaring in the sky in a mountainous region claiming Pakistan is aiding Taliban against the resistance fighters in Panjshir.
After the fall of Kabul on August 15, several anti-Taliban fighters and the remnants of the Afghan army amassed in Panjshir valley under the leadership of Ahmad Massoud and have been holding out in the province putting up a fight against the Taliban. The Panjshir Valley which according to several Indian news outlets is now under Taliban control, was the only region in the country which put up a long fight against the militant group.
Times Now aired the video claiming it is breaking news of 'Rogue Pak Sponsors Terror' with the anchor explaining, 'We've got latest visuals of Pakistani fighter jets that can be seen soaring the skies in Panjshir. These are the fighter jets you can see on your screen, facilitated by Pakistan to aid the Taliban forces and they try to crush the resistance in the Valley".
Watch the same below:
The anchor then moves on to the reporter Pradeep Dutta, who says that the visuals show a full fledged Pakistan invasion in Panjshir valley, adding, "Its not the Taliban who are fighting but the Pakistan valley fighting on their behalf". He calls the visuals, proof that "Pakistan has been lying through its teeth" and show "conventional warfare" that is being resorted to crush resistance movement in Panjshir valley.
The channel tweeted the video with the text "1st visuals of a fighter jet, allegedly belonging to Pakistan, hovering over #PanjshirValley in Afghanistan." While the tweet has since been deleted, below is a screenshot of the same.
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The same video was tweeted by a Twitter account which claims to be the official account of the Afghan National Resistance Front with the caption claiming full air occupation by Pakistan in Panjshir.
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BOOM found that the video is from Wales, United Kingdom where fighter jets conduct training sessions and not from Panjshir. We further found that the fighter jets in the video are not Pakistani air force jets but Mcdonnell Douglas F15e Strike Eagle jets, based at the RAF Lakenheath base in UK.
We first noticed several tweets and replies to Times Now claiming the video shows a United State Air Force F-15 fighter jet flying over Wales and not a Pakistani jet over Panjshir, Afghanistan.
In another reply, a UK national replied to the Afghan National Resistance Front's tweet that, "That's an F15 Eagle. Very much not Russian. But not Pakistani either, this is a US plane, flying through the 'Mach Loop' training circuit here in the UK"
Using the above clues, we ran a search using the keywords, 'Mach Loop + F15 Eagle + Wales' and found a YouTube upload from May 9, 2021 by a UK based aviation enthusiast, Darren Edwards. Edwards on his YouTube channel, DarrenEdwardsAviation uploads videos of military aviation majorly from the Mach Loop.
Edwards uploaded a compilation of videos on May 9, 2021 titled, 'F15 Eagles low through the hills in Wales * Mach Loop *' and the description stating, 'Mcdonnell Douglas F15e Strike Eagle from RAF Lakenheath low level training through the hills in Wales which is know as the Mach Loop with Awesome Sound, a selection of clips from me plane spotting of F-15's from RAF Lakenheath in and around, an area in Wales they refer to as the roundabout, commonly know as the Mach Loop.'
According to the Royal Air Force Lakenheath website, RAF Lakenheath is the largest U.S. Air Force-operated base in England and the only U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) F-15 fighter wing.
In the YouTube video at the counter, 1 minute 38 seconds we noticed the same sequence of the fighter jet as seen in the video aired by Times Now.
We also noticed that the landscape in the video from Wales is an exact match to the video aired by Times Now claiming it shows Panjshir, Afghanistan. The two boundary wall like lines seen in the video shared by Times Now are visible in the original video from Wales, United Kingdom.
We have marked the same in red.
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.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SUJITH A
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