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News Outlets Fall for Massoud's Fake Handle, Show 'Jet Shot Down' In Panjshir

India Today, among others, shared the visuals from a fake account of Afghanistan's Ahmad Massoud.

Published
WebQoof
3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>India Today and a few other news outlets shared a tweet of a fake account, which wrongly shared an old photo from 2018 as a recent one from Panjshir.</p></div>
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As Afghanistan's National Resistance Front (NRF) urged people to join the resistance "against the occupation of the country by the Taliban and Pakistani agents", Indian media outlets ran stories about the NRF shooting down a "Pakistani jet plane" in Panjshir.

India Today used a tweet by account '@mohsood123', which claimed to be the official account of Ahmad Massoud – leader of the NRF – and reported that a Pakistani jet was shot down in the area.

However, we found that the Twitter account whose tweets were shared by the media was not Ahmad Massoud's actual account. Massoud, who is NRF's founder, tweets from '@AhmadMassoud01'. The image that the account had shared, claiming to show a Pakistani Jet shot down by the Resistance is also old.

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CLAIM

India Today ran a bulletin relying on the tweet from the fake account and reported that the resistance groups has "claimed shooting down Pak jet".

<div class="paragraphs"><p>An archive of this bulletin can be viewed <a href="https://perma.cc/6EC7-FXUA">here</a>.</p></div>

An archive of this bulletin can be viewed here.

(Source; YouTube/Screenshot)

The same visuals were also used by TV9 Hindi, Dainik Bhaskar and Live Hindustan.

WHAT WE FOUND OUT

There are two parts to this story:

  1. The picture that was shared by the purported account of Ahmad Massoud is actually an old picture and doesn't show a jet being shot down in Panjshir.

  2. The account is not the official account of Massoud.

THE PICTURE

Using reverse image search, we found that the photograph of the jet was old.

We found an article on a website called Military from 2018, which carried the same photo. The report noted that an F-16 fighter jet had crashed in Arizona in the United States, which had taken off from Luke Air Force Base.

It added that the pilot had safely ejected while attempted to land near Lake Havasu.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The article from 2018 carried the same photo.</p></div>

The article from 2018 carried the same photo.

(Photo: Military/Screenshot/Altered by The Quint)

American news channel ABC News also carried a report about the incident, which had the same visuals.

THE ACCOUNT

The profile, which impersonates Ahmad Massoud, misspells the leader's last name as 'mohsood'.

And as per a Pakistani journalist, the official Twitter account of Massoud is 'AhmadMassoud01'.

Further, we found older tweets on the account, which had photographs of a young man with others. These also helped us confirm that the account did not belong to NRF's founder.

In one of the tweet from 24 June, the user had uploaded a picture along with the hashtag #NewProfilePic. And this, clearly isn't the photo of Ahmad Massoud.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The archive of this tweet can be seen <a href="https://perma.cc/Z369-B7TC">here</a>.</p></div>

The archive of this tweet can be seen here.

(Photo: Twitter/Screenshot)

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Several other older tweets from the account show similar activity.

  • 01/02

    The archive of this tweet can be seen here.

    (Photo: Twitter/Screenshot)

    <div class="paragraphs"><p>The archive of this tweet can be seen <a href="https://perma.cc/654Q-C6XD">here</a>.</p></div>
  • 02/02

    The archive of this tweet can be seen here.

    (Photo: Twitter/Screenshot)

    <div class="paragraphs"><p>The archive of this tweet can be seen <a href="https://perma.cc/AM3M-XUUP">here</a>.</p></div>

However, the account has now deleted the tweets, but The Quint had archived the profile.

Evidently, the tweet used by some media outlets showing a Pakistani jet that was shot down by the NRF in Panjshir is an old photo of a F-16 jet crashing in USA's Arizona and the account that tweeted it is a fake account that had been impersonating Afghan politician and National Resistance Force leader Ahmad Massoud.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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