A photograph showing what appears to be clothes floating in a pool of blood has gone viral on social media in the aftermath of the blasts near the airport in Kabul on Thursday, 26 August.
The image claims to show a "flood of blood" because of the blasts that took the lives of at least 170 people.
However, we found that the photo, which dates back to 2017, was from a symbolic protest held in Kabul to bring awareness on the high number of civilian casualties in the country. According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), over 11,000 civilians were killed in 2016.
Several social media users shared the photo and claimed it to be recent.
"Horrible Sence from Kabul Airport Afghanistan (sic)," said one user with captions that had hashtags like #KabulAirport #AfghanistanBurning.
Such claims were made by several other Twitter users.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
We conducted a reverse image search on Google and found several news reports in Persian that carried the same image.
An article published on 15 February 2016 (as per Google Translate) carried the same image along with a series of others from a similar location. The titles of the article, when translated from Persian, said, "Video report: Kabul Sea turned blood red."
A Google Translate version of the text in the article, in Payam Aftab News Network, said, that in a symbolic move, an organisation ‘Afghanistan 1400’ sprayed two hundred kilograms of red paint in the Kabul River, making the colour of the water red.
Another article published in Shafaqna talked about the protest and said that it was held after "the announcement of UNAMA's annual report on civilian casualties" in the country.
We checked the Afghanistan 1400's social media handles and found a photo of the protest along with a media release, where the organisation made the announcement about their protest.
A Facebook post on their page carried a news article with the same viral image, which was published on 12 February 2017.
Another post later on talked more about the event. The date mentioned in the post was "1395/11/22", as per the Persian calendar.
The Google translation of the date from the Persian websites said the post was created in 2016, however, we converted the date from Persian to Gregorian calendar and found that the year was 2017.
Evidently, an old and unrelated photograph of a symbolic protest held in Afghanistan in 2017 was shared as scenes following the recent blasts outside Kabul airport.
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