FACT CHECK: Is The Only McDonald’s In Afghanistan Being Staffed By US Marines?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims U.S. Marines are staffing the only McDonald’s restaurant in Afghanistan until all Americans have been evacuated.

Verdict: False

The tweet has been fabricated. There is no evidence Marines are staffing a McDonald’s in Kabul.

Fact Check:

The U.S. has been working to evacuate thousands of American citizens, Afghan allies and others from Kabul after the country’s government collapsed, Reuters reported. The capital city fell to the Taliban on Aug. 15, after the group had already seized control of nearly the entire county in the wake of the U.S.’s decision to withdraw troops, according to CNBC.

Amid the U.S.’s race to evacuate people from Afghanistan, a tweet that appears to have been sent by ABC Investigations reporter Dylan Welch was shared widely online as a screen grab. The purported tweet alleges, “Internal DOD documents that have been seen by ABC suggest that Kabul Mcdonalds (the only Mcdonalds in Afghanistan), mostly serving American diplomats at Kabul airport, is temporarily staffed by American marines and will remain open until the last American leaves. #Kabul #Afghanistan.”

Neither the tweet nor its claim hold up under scrutiny, however. McDonald’s does not list Afghanistan as one of the countries in which it operates. Check Your Fact looked through Welch’s Twitter account and archived screen grabs of his timeline on the Wayback Machine, none of which yielded matches for the tweet. The message in it consists of over 280 characters, meaning it exceeds Twitter’s character limit.

Welch also said on Twitter Aug. 15 that he never tweeted such a thing. (RELATED: Did CNN Describe The Taliban Takeover Of Afghanistan As ‘Violent But Mostly Peaceful’ In A Chyron?)

“Someone has created a fake tweet pretending it’s from me about US Marines and a restaurant in Kabul called McDonald’s. I didn’t write it,” Welch tweeted. “Please ignore it and focus instead on the plight of the millions of people in #Afghanistan abandoned by the int’l community.”

The photo of the restaurant in the fabricated tweet can be traced back to at least 2013, when the Spanish-language outlet ABC published an article about it. In the article, the outlet reported that the picture showed a Kabul restaurant designed to look like a McDonald’s from the outside. The restaurant largely serves traditional Afghan cuisine, according to the outlet.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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