FACT CHECK: No, This Image Of Afghan Women Chained Together Is Not Real
An image shared on Twitter purportedly shows three Afghan women chained together being led down a road by a man.
— Nitin Sharma (@NitinKu80690057) August 16, 2021
The image has been photoshopped. The original picture, taken in Iraq in 2003, shows three women walking behind a man on a street with no chains visible.
The Taliban on Aug. 15 captured Afghanistan’s capital city, Kabul, prompting fear among Afghans that the militant group will reinstitute the oppressive rules it enforced under its interpretation of sharia law while previously in power in the 90s, according to the Associated Press.
Amid the crisis in the country, social media users have shared an image allegedly showing three Afghan women wearing burqas who look to be chained together at the ankles. In the picture, a man walks ahead of them, seemingly holding the end of the chain.
The photo appears to have been digitally altered, as a reverse image search revealed it has been shared online for over a decade, often showing the women without chains. One 2006 instance of the picture can be found on the website Trek Earth, where the photo, in which no chains are visible, is attributed to photographer Murat Duzyol.
In an email to Check Your Fact, Duzyol confirmed the version of the picture that includes chains is a doctored version of a photo he took in Iraq in 2003. He explained the original was taken after a commemoration ceremony for Iraqi citizens who had been killed in the Iraqi city of Erbil.
“As people were returning to their homes after the ceremony, such a composition randomly appeared on the street,” said Duzyol. “It’s a completely instant snapshot and completely natural. The women obviously knew each other, but I’m not sure they knew the man.” (RELATED: Does This Image Show An Indian Air Force Plane Evacuating People From Afghanistan?)
He also said that despite warning people about the digitally manipulated version of the picture, it continues to be shared online.
The Taliban said last week that it would respect women’s rights within the confines of Islamic religious law, according to The New York Times. Under the Taliban’s previous rule in Afghanistan, women’s rights were severely restricted. Afghan women were not allowed to work or receive an education and were required to wear a burqa and have a male relative chaperone when they left their homes, CBS News reported.