In a recent ‘breaking news’ segment, India Today claimed that Ahmad Massoud, head of the National Resistance Force of Afghanistan (NRFA), tweeted a photo claiming that a Pakistani Air Force fighter jet had been shot down in Panjshir. During the broadcast, the channel aired a tweet that showed a picture of a fighter plane. (Archive link)
Aaj Tak also reported, “Panjshir rebel leader Ahmad Massoud has claimed that Pakistani jets were shot down by Panjshir fighters.” The channel claimed that Massoud tweeted, “Pakistani jet plane shot down by our lion cubs. Resistance Panjshir.”
Hindi daily Hindustan made the same claim in a report.
— Hindustan (@Live_Hindustan) September 6, 2021
According to Dainik Bhaskar, “Taliban fighters claimed victory over Panjshir on Monday. Meanwhile, Panjshir fighters and Northern Alliance forces have declared a rebellion throughout Afghanistan under the leadership of Ahmad Massoud.”
तालिबानी हुकूमत LIVE: पंजशीर के लड़ाकों का पूरे अफगानिस्तान में विद्रोह का ऐलान; तालिबान की मदद कर रहे पाकिस्तानी फाइटर जेट को मार गिराने का दावाhttps://t.co/IzAKIISRPH #Taliban #pakistan #Panjshir #Afganistan pic.twitter.com/bfpDTzhzmr
— Dainik Bhaskar (@DainikBhaskar) September 6, 2021
Replying to India Today’s aforementioned tweet, Pakistani journalist Hamza Azhar Salam said that the tweet which formed the basis for the report was posted by a fake handle. He added that this image was actually from 2018 and showed an American jet, not a Pakistani jet.
Hi. I wanted to clarify that the account of Ahmad Massoud used in your report is fake. His real account is @AhmadMassoud01. The picture used is not a Pakistani jet in #panjshir, its a US jet in Arizona from 2018. I hope you will correct the report
— Hamza Azhar Salam (@HamzaAzhrSalam) September 6, 2021
American outlets like ABC and Military.com had published reports carrying the photo in question in April 2018, describing it as a US F16 fighter jet that had crashed in Arizona. However, the pilot had not suffered any major injuries.
The handle which posted the tweet in question has now been deleted. However, some other photos shared by it confirm that this tweet was indeed fake and aired by outlets without verification.