NEWS
27/08/2021 15:48 BST

Kabul Attack Footage You've Seen Was Probably Fake. Here's The Real Story

Photographs and videos online are being incorrectly attributed to the twin explosions.

Two suicide bombings outside Kabul airport rocked Afghanistan on Thursday.

The death toll has now risen to 170 in total – including three children – while almost 200 people were injured from the blasts.

Isis-K – an affiliate of the so-called Islamic State group – has claimed responsibility for the attack. 

What information about the horrifying event being shared online can you trust?

A photo of a plane covered in dust

WAKIL KOHSAR via AFP via Getty Images
One of many images being circulated on the internet of Kabul airport

The Reuters fact-checking team found that a photograph of a plane wing covered with dust and debris at Kabul airport is being miscaptioned and presented as a scene after Thursday’s explosions.

The photograph in question was actually taken by AFP photograph Wakil Koshar at Kabul airport on August 16.

The caption of the photograph on Getty states: “US soldiers stand guard as in the background Afghan people wait at the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan’s 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city’s airport trying to flee the group’s feared hardline brand of Islamist rule.”

Photographs of the blast from the road

Images of a grey cloud above a road were shared online as evidence of the Kabul airport attack on Thursday.

However, a wider version of the same image was found to have been first published by an Afghan news station, 1TV, back in August 10, 2015.

It was recording a car bomb explosion outside Kabul airport, believed to have been caused by Taliban militants. This 2015 blast killed five people and wounded 16, as Reuters’ fact-checkers discovered.

A video of an evening air strike

A clip of a supposed explosion in Kabul has been widely shared on social media in the belief that it accurately depicted the twin bombings of August 26, 2021.

But the 14-second clip is actually at least five days older than the airport explosions, having first circulated on August 21, when Israeli forces were targeting Hamas in Gaza. Reuters believes that is what the footage depicts, rather than the Kabul explosion.

Footage of Kabul airport at night

Social media users were mistakenly labelling footage of people trying to enter Kabul airport after sunset as evidence of the explosion.

But the clip was tweeted back on August 18 by CBS correspondent Christina Ruffini. She captioned the video of the North Gate as depicting “Americans trying to access the airport”.

CBS News shared the footage too that same day, explaining that the clip was recorded by an American citizen in Kabul.