FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show A Pakistani Jet Shot Down By Panjshir Resistance Fighters?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows a Pakistani jet shot down by anti-Taliban resistance fighters.

Verdict: False

The picture shows a U.S. fighter jet that crashed in Arizona in 2018.

Fact Check:

The Taliban on Sept. 6 claimed it had taken control of Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley, a historic bastion of resistance against the militant group, and posted images allegedly showing its fighters occupying the provincial capital, The New York Times reported. The National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, a group of anti-Taliban resistance fighters, disputed the Taliban’s claim, saying that it still occupied strategic positions in the province, the outlet reported.

As the news of the Taliban claiming it had captured Panjshir Valley spread online, Facebook and Twitter users started sharing an image of a jet, purportedly belonging to Pakistan, that the National Resistance Front allegedly shot down. One such Facebook post features a screen grab of a Sept. 6 tweet saying, “The Pakistani Jet Plane that was shot down by lion clubs. #Resistance_Panjshir.”

However, a reverse image search by Check Your Fact traced the picture of the jet back to April 2018, when Military.com included it in an article about an F-16 fighter jet from Luke Air Force Base crashing in Arizona. Military.com cited the now-unavailable Facebook group “Air Force amn/nco/snco” as its source of the picture of the downed plane. (RELATED: Does This Video Show Resistance Fighters Shooting Down A Pakistani Jet In Afghanistan?)

The F-16 fighter jet experienced “engine concerns” during a training flight that prompted the pilot to attempt to land at a nearby airport, where the plane ultimately crashed, according to a report from the Air Force Times that included a similar picture of the jet. The pilot ejected from the plane without suffering any major injuries, the Associated Press reported at the time.

In a broadcast report, ABC 15 Arizona published pictures of the crash site that were provided by the Lake Havasu Fire Department. The fencing and scenery surrounding the jet in the Lake Havasu Fire Department pictures appear to match those in the photo included in the Facebook post.

Check Your Fact previously debunked a video allegedly depicting resistance fighters in Panjshir Valley shooting down a Pakistani jet. That video actually showed gameplay from ARMA 3, a video game published by Bohemia Interactive and released in 2013.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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