FACT CHECK: No, Inflatable Decoy Planes Were Not At The Kabul Airport

Ryan King | Contributor

An image shared on Facebook over 440 times purportedly shows an “inflatable decoy plane” recently used in Afghanistan.

Verdict: False

The plane shown in the picture is not inflatable. Footage of the aircraft shows that it is a real plane.

Fact Check:

Taliban forces entered Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 15 and captured both the city and the presidential palace, according to Al Jazeera. Since then, several U.S. C-17 aircrafts have evacuated American citizens and U.S allies from Kabul, the Associated Press reported.

Now, a viral image on Facebook claims the aircrafts are actually inflatable “decoy” planes. The post contains two photos: one on top showing a C-17 along with text labeling it as an “actual aircraft” and one on the bottom showing a blurry photo of a C-17 with dozens of people next to it with text labeling it as an “inflatable decoy plane.”

“Just like the planes on 9/11…Not real,” the post’s caption reads. Check Your Fact recently debunked a baseless claim that no planes were used in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. (RELATED: Facebook Post Makes False Claim About 9/11 Terrorist Attacks)

Videos of the plane, however, contradict the post’s claim. Footage compiled by Business Insider of one of the evacuations shows a C-17 airplane with the same “1109” number on the front seen in the Facebook image moving and its engines can be heard. A video posted on Twitter by Afghan news outlet ToloNews shows dozens of people running beside the aircraft while it moved down the runway. Some people were climbing on to the side of the plane as it moved.

A similar video, showing the same aircraft, was published by the Washington Post on Aug. 17. The caption of the video reads: “Afghans and foreigners rushed to the Kabul airport on Aug. 16 in hopes of leaving the country as the Taliban declared victory.”

If the plane was inflatable, the sides would have moved as people climbed on it, yet in the video, the plane appears completely solid.

The U.S. Air Force will be investigating several deaths of Afghan civilians who were crushed by landing gear and fell from the plane after climbing on the outside of the moving aircraft, according to The Seattle Times.

Ryan King