Person suspended from helicopter in Afghanistan appears to be wearing a harness


Conservative blogging sites, pundits and politicians such as Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, claimed the Taliban hanged someone from a helicopter flying over Afghanistan.

The viral rumor was based on a short, blurry video that shows a helicopter flying over the country with a person hanging from a rope below. It is not known who filmed the footage and when, but the clip appears to be real. However, that does not mean that it shows an execution by hanging.

Various other pictures and videos examined by PolitiFact show that the person hanging from the helicopter was alive, moving and waving his arms. The person was suspended by a harness that wrapped around his arms, not a noose around his neck.

A viral tweet claimed without evidence that the video showed the Taliban hanging someone from a helicopter.

Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said the Defense Department would not comment on the video, as it came from social media and was presented “without context, background, deadline for filming the video, or even a clear visual of what’s going on. “

Reporters for the bbc, Snopes, the Washington post, Vice and other electrical outlets came to the same conclusion about the harness, determining that the video did not depict an execution.

For its report, the BBC cited anonymous Afghan experts with sources in the country. BBC reported that the theft took place on August 30 and that it was an attempt to attach a flag over a public building. The plane was probably seized from the Afghan Air Force, the BBC said.

Other media outlets around the world have relayed the same information. An Afghan news agency likewise said Alt News, an Indian outlet, where the person was trying to attach a flag to a building – specifically, the governor’s office in Kandahar, the second largest city in Afghanistan.

Bilal Sarwary, Afghan freelance journalist, tweeted that the pilot flying the helicopter was someone he knew, who had been trained in the United States and the United Arab Emirates. Sarwary also said the person in the harness was a Taliban fighter trying to put up a flag.

Still, a flurry of social media posts claiming the video showed widespread public hanging anyway, racking up hundreds of thousands of total interactions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, according to CrowdTangle, a media analytics tool. social. Some virals tweets claimed, again without evidence, that the hanged person was an American interpreter.

The posts were reported as part of Facebook’s efforts to tackle fake news and disinformation on its news feed. (Learn more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Snopes and Vice reported that the 12-second clip was first shared in an August 30 tweet from a page called the Time of the Taliban, which was later suspended by Twitter. The Taliban Times tweet did not claim the video was an execution.

This claim seemed to take off after a version from the same clip was shared by another account, according to Hoax, a social media analytics tool that maps information dissemination on Twitter. The account, which indicates in its Twitter bio that it is owned by a comedian, captioned: “The Taliban hung someone from a helicopter in Kandahar.”

This account’s tweet was spurred on by several prominent Republican politicians, including Cruz and U.S Representatives Lauren Boebert and Dan Crenshaw.

“This gruesome image sums up the Joe Biden disaster in Afghanistan: The Taliban hangs a man from an American Blackhawk helicopter,” Cruz said in his tweet, which garnered the video more than 2.5 million views in less than 24 hours. “Tragic. Unimaginable.”

Elsewhere, blogging sites like Redstate and the Western Journal made the headlines that repeated the same claims.

We assess these claims as false.

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