Fact Check: Kabul Airport Photograph Is NOT From August 26, 2021 -- It Was Taken August 16, 2021

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: Kabul Airport Photograph Is NOT From August 26, 2021 -- It Was Taken August 16, 2021 Un-deep fake

Does this picture, with dust rising and a jet's wing in the foreground, capture the August 26, 2021, explosion at the Kabul airport? No, that's not true: The picture in the screenshot below was taken on August 16, 2021, by a photographer for Agence France-Presse.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) published on August 26, 2021. It was captioned:

Blast near Kabul airport Eastern Gate. Potentially suicide bomber.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2021-08-27 at 10.21.57 AM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Aug 27 14:19:20 2021 UTC)

A suicide bombing did happen at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan on August 26, 2021, killing 13 U.S. servicemen and at least 99 Afghan civilians. (The Pentagon said there was one bombing, not two, on August 27, 2021.)

The image in shown in the Facebook post was taken 10 days earlier and shows soldiers standing by as a helicopter takes off from Kabul airport, kicking up a dust cloud. Getty Images' photo archive shows the photo was taken on August 16, 2021, by Wakil Kohsar for Agence France-Presse.

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Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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