A video showing a man dangling on a Black Hawk Helicopter from Kandahar has gone viral and is creating a lot of sensation not only on social media but also on mainstream media. People started sharing this video claiming that it shows another example of cruelty Taliban is inflicting on the Afghans.
However, when Fact Crescendo investigated this video, we found that the man was not hanged by Taliban but he was a Talibani fighter who was suspended from the Helicopter so that that he can fix a flag on a pole in the vicinity of the provincial government building in Kandahar. Let’s understand the narrative on social media and the truth of the video.
Narrative On Social Media
A narrative started going viral on social media with a video of an American Black Hawk Helicopter seen with a man dangling to it. People shared the video saying that the man was probably an associate of the American who was hanged by Taliban for the services he provided to the US army. Screenshot of a tweet in this regard can be seen below:
Prominent among those who believed that Taliban had hanged an innocent using the Black Hawk helicopter included US Senator Ted Cruz, who shared the following tweet containing the video:
This horrifying image encapsulates Joe Biden’s Afghanistan catastrophe: The Taliban hanging a man from an American Blackhawk helicopter.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 31, 2021
Tragic. Unimaginable. https://t.co/zOvNM5UXUW
Vice published a report about the narrative going viral on social media about the video. The Vice’s report states that the man can be clearly seen moving in the video and the narrative that the man is an interpreter who worked for the Americans being hanged to death in such a fashion is misleading.
Let’s find out what is the actual context of the video.
The Vice’s report states that the video was first tweeted on Monday by a Twitter handle called Talib Times. The tweet by Talib times has the following caption:
“Our Air Force!
At this time, the Islamic Emirate’s air force helicopters are flying over Kandahar city and patrolling the city.”
The original tweet is given below:
Our Air Force!— Talib Times (@TalibTimes) August 30, 2021
At this time, the Islamic Emirate’s air force helicopters are flying over Kandahar city and patrolling the city. pic.twitter.com/rlE6nUldZf
In the video, we can see a name written in Pashto. The name translates to Tabassum Radio. When we searched for Tabassum Radio we found out that it is a local radio station based in Kandahar. We reached out to Mr. Sadiqullah Afghan who is the head of Tabassum radio. Mr. Afghan told Fact Crescendo, “I had shot the video on my phone yesterday near the Provincial Government Building in Kandahar. We saw a man hanging to a helicopter and we were amazed. Later, we learned that it was a Talibani fighter who was trying to hoist the Talibani flag on a post inside the building premises. It was not any innocent who was hanged to death by Taliban, the narrative going viral on social media is fake.”
Mr. Afghan shared the link of the video he had posted on Monday. His tweet can be seen below:
یوه چورلکه د کندهار ولایت پر مقام لیدل کیږي، چي یو کس په ځوړند دی، تر اوسه مسولینو په دې اړه وضاحت نه دی ورکړی. pic.twitter.com/8xlWLgR5dh— Sadiqullah Afghan (@SadiqullahAfgha) August 30, 2021
We found various videos of the same incident posted by journalists and locals of Kandahar which shows us the incident from different angles. The following video posted by an Afghan journalist Mr. Arghand Abdulmanan shows us the man dangling to the helicopter above a flag post. In the caption Mr. Arghand states that, “the military man tried to hoist the flag on the post, but he could not succeed.”
Another video shows us the man suspended to the helicopter flying over the flag post but could not reach it. This video was posted by a Facebook User named Khan Mohammad Ayan. The video can be seen below:
The man seen hanging to a black hawk helicopter in the viral video is alive and he was a Talibani militant trying to hoist a flag inside the premises of Kandahar Provincial Government Building. As claimed in the narratives doing rounds of social media he is not an innocent being persecuted by the Taliban.
Update: 31st Aug 2021: Mr.Bilal Sarwary, a journalist from Afghanistan has tweeted on his verified Twitter handle that he has spoken to the pilot who was flying the helicopter and he has confirmed to him that the man seen in the video was actually a Talib trying to hoist a flag on a post.
Afghan pilot flying this is someone I have known over the years. He was trained in the US and UAE, he confirmed to me that he flew the Blackhawk helicopter. Taliban fighter seen here was trying to install Taliban flag from air but it didn’t work in the end. https://t.co/wnF8ep1zEl— BILAL SARWARY (@bsarwary) August 31, 2021
Title:The Man Seen Hanging On A Black Hawk Helicopter Is A Talib Trying To Hoist A Flag…Fact Check By: Fact Crescendo Team