A video showing men dressed in black uniform crushing hundreds of cell phones with their feet is being shared across social media platforms, claiming that it shows the Taliban doing so after imposing a ban on mobile phones in Afghanistan. It adds that Taliban has also introduced a death penalty for those using mobiles.
However, we found that the video is not from Afghanistan. In the clip, Pakistan’s customs officials can be seen destroying contraband seized at the country’s border, which includes liquor, drugs, and cell phones. Moreover, no news reports mention any such ban in Afghanistan.
The short video is being shared to claim that the Taliban announced a nationwide ban on cell phones and was destroying all of the phones they seized from Afghans.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
On closely observing the video, we saw that the Pakistani flag was visible on the sleeve of one of the people in the video.
Taking a clue from this, we used relevant keywords and came across a on YouTube published on 29 December 2021, which noted that Pakistan’s customs officials were destroying liquor and drugs.
We found similarities between this video and the one used in the claim, such as a blue container in the background of both clips.
Towards the end of the video, a customs officer whose name tag reads ‘Feroze’ says that the people were taking part in ‘destruction day,’ where Customs personnel destroy seized contraband such as narcotics and counterfeit goods. He adds that they destroyed substances worth over two billion Pakistani rupees.
We were also able to identify Pakistani actor Adnan Siddiqui in the first video, who was seen in the same outfit in a viral meme.
On his verified Instagram account, Siddiqui had shared visuals from the event as well as the photo that went viral.
Next, we looked for news reports on the ceremony and came across stories by Vice and .
Vice that the destruction ceremony was a big event for the Customs agency, as Pakistan is a transport hub for many illicit goods.
It added that the ceremony involved the destruction of over 16,000 liquor bottles, nearly 2 lakh counterfeit cigarettes, cosmetics, and counterfeit mobile phones, among other objects.
Lastly, we looked for recent reports on whether the Taliban had banned and seized cell phones in Afghanistan, and did not find any.
Clearly, a video of Pakistani customs officials partaking in ‘destruction day’ activities was shared with a false claim that it shows the Taliban destroying mobile phones after banning them.