A photo of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani embracing another individual is being circulated widely on social media. It is claimed that Ghani is pictured with a Taliban leader and that the photo was taken shortly before he fled the country.

TV9 Bharatvarsh ran the image during a broadcast in which anchor Nishant Chaturvedi stated that Abdul Ghani was seen hugging Taliban leaders. Chaturvedi also questioned the panellists in the program about whether they thought the two embraced out of fear or due to an old friendship. (Archive link)

तालिबानी नेताओं को अब्दुल गनी ने गले लगाया

तालिबानी नेताओं को अब्दुल गनी ने गले लगाया
#Taliban | #Afghanistan | #Kabul | #AshrafGhani

Posted by TV9 Bharatvarsh on Sunday, August 15, 2021

National Herald has also carried the photo with a similar claim.

Janta Ka Reporter promoted the visuals and accompanying claim in a tweet. (Archive link)

The same image was shared in a recent story by The Times of Islamabad. Journalist and historian Vijay Prashad also tweeted the photo with a similar claim. (Archive link)

Fact-check

In a reply to one of the viral posts, a user shared a screenshot of a Facebook post featuring the viral image dated March 1, 2020. According to the caption, this picture was taken during Eid celebrations.

 

Alt News performed a keyword search which led to a video by Tolo News. The style of Ashraf Ghani’s turban in this video from August 12, 2019, resembles the one in the viral image. However, Alt News cannot confirm that this photo and video were captured on the same day.

Tolo News and a few other Twitter handles (Link 1, Link 2, Link 3) shared pictures of Eid celebrations in August 2019. In these pictures too, Ashraf Ghani can be seen in the same clothes which he is wearing in the viral photo.

Newsmobile earlier published a fact-check report on this image.

Therefore, we can say for certain that the picture was not taken right before Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan because it had already been posted online last year.

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