Fact check: Viral Picture Of PAF F-16 Shutdown In Panjshir Is fake

Fact check: Viral Picture Of PAF F-16 Shutdown In Panjshir Is fake

Some Twitter users shared a picture of a fighter jet claiming it showed a Pakistan Air Force plane that was shot down by resistance fighters in Afghanistan’s Panjshir valley, but a fact check shows the picture is actually from 2018 in the United States.

A Twitter account purportedly claiming to belong to Ahmad Massoud, the son of legendary Afghan rebel commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, tweeted a photo of a military aircraft on its belly on the ground, with the caption saying: “The Pakistani Jet Plane that was shot down by the lion cubs.”

The photo, which has since been deleted, was shared by other accounts opposed to the Taliban as well, but a Google reverse image search showed it is an old picture.

An April 2018 article by military news website Military.com showed the picture in question was captured after a US F-16 Fighting Falcon jet crash-landed during a routine training flight near the Arizona-California border.

Screenshot of the news article in which the fighter jet's picture was used.
Screenshot of the news article in which the fighter jet’s picture was used.

India’s Republic TV and Hindi news channel Zee Hindustan shared footage that they claimed showed Pakistani drones attacking anti-Taliban fighters in Panjshir.

But fact-check website Boom found that the viral clip was taken from a longer video recording of the video game Arma-3, and is not from the military conflict in Afghanistan.

Times Now – an Indian news outlet that claims to be the most-watched English News channel in the country, shared the visuals on its Twitter handle, prompting a strong backlash. The channel claimed that the Pakistan Air Force was “actively participating in the onslaught against the resistance and was supporting the Taliban forces.”

However, soon after showing the video clip of an American F-15 flying in a valley, the channel faced a strong reaction as people pointed out that the Pakistan Air Force has no twin-tailed fighter aircraft in its inventory.

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