FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show An Indian Air Force Plane Evacuating People From Afghanistan?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows an Indian Air Force plane evacuating people from the Afghan capital of Kabul.

Verdict: False

The photo, which dates back to 2013, shows people being evacuated in the Philippines after a devastating typhoon.

Fact Check:

The U.S. has been racing to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies from Afghanistan since the Taliban took over the country, CNN reported. On Thursday, the Pentagon said the U.S. had gotten over 7,000 people out via aircraft from Kabul since Saturday, according to CNBC.

Other countries, including Germany, Spain, Turkey and India, have also evacuated people from Afghanistan in recent days, according to Reuters. The Aug. 16 Facebook post claims to show a picture of hundreds of people being airlifted out of Kabul by the Indian Air Force, saying, “IAF C 17 with 800 people airlifted…that’s a record. That’s a train load almost. The previous highest was 670. This is from Kabul Airport this morning.”

However, a reverse image search traced the photo back to 2013, multiple years before the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan began. It appears on the Pacific Air Forces part of the U.S. Air Force’s website, where the caption describes it as showing hundreds of Filipino residents being evacuated after the 2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan.

“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 caption of the photo reads, in part. “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.”

Super Typhoon Haiyan, considered one of the most powerful tropical cyclones to make landfall ever recorded, killed over 6,000 people, CNN reported in December 2013. It also left some 1.9 million people homeless and over 6 million displaced, according to BBC News. (RELATED: Did The Taliban Shoot Down 2 US Aircraft And Kill 34 Soldiers In Afghanistan?)

The U.S. provided about $87 million in disaster relief aid in response to Super Typhoon Haiyan, according to a 2014 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report. During its response to the typhoon, the U.S. military evacuated over 21,000 people and distributed over 2,400 tons of relief supplies, per the CRS report.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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