No, the photos circulating on social media do not show the new head of Afghanistan’s central bank.
An image allegedly showing the new head of Afghanistan’s central bank, Haji Mohammad Idris, sitting at a desk with a rifle has been circulating on social media since August 17. However, the Observers team discovered that it is actually an old photo of an unidentified man. Taliban member.
The image was shared by various Indian media outlets, including the India Today television channel, with the caption “Haji Mohammad Idris, the new governor of the Afghan central bank.”
In France, a Le Point journalist tweeted the photo and false statement on September 9 and received more than 5,100 likes.
The photo is not of Mohammad Idris and was probably not taken at the Central Bank.
When comparing the supposed photo of the director with the official photos published by the central bank of Afghanistan on Facebook on August 23, we can see that the faces of the two men do not match.
Furthermore, official photos taken at Afghanistan’s central bank show the meeting when the new leadership of the Taliban was announced. Mohammad Idris can be seen sitting at the head of the table. The photo is accompanied by the caption “Mr. Maulvi Abdul Qahir, known as Haji Mohammad Idris, as governor of the central bank of Afghanistan, [addressed] the meeting”.
Another photo of Mohammad Idris, wearing the same clothes, a white shirt and a black turban, was posted on Twitter on September 6 by the Afghan central bank account.
Screenshot of a tweet from the central bank of Afghanistan on September 6. It shows Mohammad Idris (left) at a coordination meeting with commercial banks. © Twitter @AFGCentralbank
Further investigation showed us that the photo of the armed Taliban was taken not at the central bank’s headquarters in Kabul, but at an office in another Afghan province, possibly in the eastern province of Laghman.
In fact, in the photo that went viral on social networks, you can see a blue flag in the background with words written in Pashto, one of the two official languages of the country, in reference to the Afghan Department of Revenue.
We searched the Facebook account of the Department of the Treasury, where we recognized the place where the photo of the Taliban was taken. In addition, the photos published on October 10, 2020 show a videoconference that took place between the Ministry of Finance and its offices outside the capital. In these images, we recognized the background in one of the videos of the participants, and we noticed the same blue flag, as well as the star-shaped wall compartment.
Photo posted on the Facebook account of the Afghanistan General Revenue Department on October 10, 2020 during a video conference with local offices. © Twitter @AFGCentralbank Highlighting the fund in a photo posted to the Afghanistan Department of Revenue Facebook account on October 10, 2020 during a video conference with local offices. © Observers
In another photo released on November 9, 2020 by the Department of Revenue showing another video conference, the same background can be seen on one of the participant’s webcams, under the name ‘Laghman’.
Photo posted on the Afghanistan Department of Revenue Facebook account on November 9, 2020 during a video conference with local offices. © Twitter @AFGCentralbank
Although these visual clues bear specific similarities to the original photo, we cannot say with certainty that the photo was taken in a specific building. However, the Pashto inscriptions suggest that the photo of the armed Taliban was taken at an Afghanistan Revenue Department building, not at the Central Bank of Afghanistan headquarters in Kabul.
Who is the new director of the central bank?
Mohammad Idris was identified in a photo by an Afghan journalist interviewed by the Indian fact-checking organization Boom, who wants to remain anonymous.
Verified photo of Mohammad Idris, the new head of the central bank in Afghanistan. © Aznews.tv/boomlive
The Taliban appointed Mohammad Idris as the new head of the Afghan central bank on August 23. According to Reuters, Mohammad Idris has no formal financial education, although he previously headed the financial division of the Taliban movement. He replaces Ajmal Ahmady, who left the country after the Taliban took power in August.
On September 7, the Taliban announced an interim government in Afghanistan, declaring the country an ‘Islamic Emirate’. The new cabinet is made up of top Taliban figures, some of whom are on a UN blacklist.