FACT CHECK: No, This Photo Was Not Taken During The Aug. 26 Terrorist Attack Near Kabul’s Airport

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Twitter purportedly shows the moment the Aug. 26 bombing took place near Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Verdict: False

The photo dates to Aug. 16, ten days before the Kabul airport attack occurred.

Fact Check:

Thursday’s suicide bombing killed 13 U.S. service members and over 160 Afghans outside Kabul’s airport, where people have been flocking in hopes of evacuating Afghanistan since the Taliban took control of the country, the Associated Press reported. The militant group Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K), an Islamic State offshoot in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack, NPR reported.

The claim that the image of a cloud rising near the airport shows the moment of the Aug. 26 attack in Kabul has been circulating on both Twitter and Facebook. In reality, the photo was taken ten days before Thursday’s suicide bombing occurred. (RELATED: Does This Image Show An Indian Air Force Plane Evacuating People From Afghanistan?)

The picture, taken by Wakil Kohsar for AFP, can be found on the Getty Images website. It shows U.S. service members standing guard as “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,” according to its caption. It appeared in news stories before the Aug. 26 terrorist attack as well.

Al Jazeera on Aug. 26 published an article featuring actual photos of the smoke from the explosion and injured victims being carried from the blast site. President Joe Biden promised the same day that the U.S. would hunt down and punish those responsible for the attack, CBS News reported.

The U.S. military on Friday conducted an “over-the-horizon counterterrorism operation” against an “ISIS-K planner” that is believed to have “killed the target,” U.S. Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban announced, according to NBC News.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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