These old photos and videos don’t really show the Kabul airport attacks

On August 26, two suicide attacks took place near the Kabul airport, where thousands of desperate Afghans crowded in hopes of boarding one of the last evacuation flights to escape the Taliban takeover. As soon as news of the first explosion began to spread, people online began sharing photos and videos of the event, some of which were actually old or misleading.

Numerous images have circulated on social media documenting the explosions, later revealed to be shelling, which killed at least 72 Afghans and 13 US servicemen near Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on August 26.

But some of these photos and videos were taken days before the attacks.

That was the case with these two photos, which circulated massively as soon as news of the first explosion began to spread.

But in fact, these two images were taken at Kabul airport on August 16 by AFP photographer Wakil Kohsar. You can find one of these photos in a Tampa Bay Times op-ed, with credit to the photographer. The other is available at Getty Images.

Both photos show Afghans waiting at Kabul airport to board an evacuation flight the day after the Taliban captured the Afghan capital, according to their legends.

Fake pictures of the explosion.

Other images are intended to show the moment of the explosion. The photo below (on the left) was shared online by journalists and even picked up by some media outlets. However, the same photo appeared online as early as 2016, used by an Iranian press agency to illustrate the attacks in Kabul, as in this 2018 article. Therefore, the photo is certainly not from August 26, 2021.

CORRECTION: I was told that these images are old, but we can confirm the news of 2 explosions outside the #KabulAirport. Bemoan the inadvertent mistake in the heat of the breaking news moment when there’s too much content floating around.

– Sudhir Chaudhary (@sudhirchaudhary) August 26, 2021

The same goes for this other video that claims to show the second explosion. But this video shows the Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, as shown in this Al-Jazeera Tweet posted on August 21, using the same video.

Some people online rightly pointed out that it was still daylight in Kabul at the time of the second explosion, unlike this video which was shot at night.

On the other hand, watch out for videos taken at the airport that appear to show a cloud of smoke, supposedly caused by the explosion. In reality, this could just be a dust cloud, says Nick Waters, principal investigator at Bellingcat.

“This is an area that seems to throw dust from time to time. You can see it on various live broadcasts when helis [sic] fly through it. I don’t think this video shows either of the two reported explosions, “Waters said on Twitter, in response to a video said to show the explosion.

Similarly, dust clouds are visible in the first two photos of this article, which may explain why so many people online mistook them for images of an explosion.

>> Read on The Observers: Taliban in Afghanistan: watch out for these images taken out of context

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