On August 15, the Taliban captured Kabul as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. Against this backdrop, BJP MP Varun Gandhi shared a screenshot of an alleged news article and sarcastically wrote “Corona Warriors of Kabul”. The news story in the image is titled, “CNN Praises Taliban for Wearing Masks During Attack”. (Archive link)

Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit also shared the screenshot. (Archive Link)

Vivek Agnihotri tweeted the image, attributing it to comedian Joe Rogan’s Instagram handle. (Archive link)

Several other users have shared this picture. Porinju Veliyath, CEO of Equity Intelligence India Limited, tweeted the image and wrote that the word ‘Taliban’ means ‘students’ in Arabic. This picture is viral on Facebook with this claim.

Satire believed to be true

The byline of the article reads ‘BabylonBee.com’.

This is a satirical website that publishes fake articles in the name of humour. The first line of the About section of the website mentions that it is a satirical site.

This article was originally shared on August 15 from the Twitter handle of The Babylon Bee. The account’s bio reads, “Fake news you can trust.”

A reverse image search of the image used in the satirical piece led us to the original version featured in a 2012 BBC report. It was attributed to news agency Reuters. The accompanying caption reads, “The Taliban overran Swat under the leadership of Maulana Fazlullah in 2007.”

To sum it up, a screenshot of an article published by a satirical portal was shared by people who believed it to be true. Screenshots of articles by this website have gone viral in the past as well. One of them portrayed that an Associated Press correspondent forgot to remove the Hamas headband from his forehead before doing a live news broadcast. Our fact-check report debunking this claim can be found here.

About the Author

She specializes in information verification, examining mis/disinformation, social media monitoring and platform accountability. Her aim is to make the internet a safer place and enable people to become informed social media users. She has been a part of Alt News since 2018.