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No, these images and video do not show the explosions near Kabul’s airport

The VERIFY team is monitoring viral videos or images claiming to be from the Aug. 26 “complex attack” near Kabul’s airport.
Credit: Screenshot/Various

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby on Aug. 26 confirmed a “complex attack” was carried out near Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, resulting in a number of casualties. 

“We can confirm that a number of U.S. service members were killed in today’s complex attack at Kabul airport. A number of others are being treated for wounds. We also know that a number of Afghans fell victim to this heinous attack,” an official statement from Kirby said. “Our thoughts are prayers go out to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed and injured.”

The Taliban on Aug. 15 captured Kabul. The collapse occurred as the United States was attempting to complete a full withdrawal of American troops -- nearly 20 years after the U.S. first invaded Afghanistan

After the Aug. 26 attack, footage was being shared across social media claiming to show the scene. As part of VERIFY’s continued coverage of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and Taliban takeover, VERIFY has researched several images and videos claiming to be from Afghanistan. This is Part 4 of our footage fact-check series. 

More from VERIFY:

THE QUESTION

Is this a photo of the Aug. 26, 2021 blast at the airport in Kabul?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

Credit: Screenshot/Twitter

No, the photo was not taken in 2021. VERIFY traced it back August 10, 2015.

WHAT WE FOUND

VERIFY conducted a reverse image search of the photo and found the photo posted online in 2015, used in coverage of a “Bomb Blast at Kabul Airport” from the International Business Times (IBT).

From the IBT, VERIFY could trace the photo to Afghanistan news station 1TV, who was covering the 2015 blast in Kabul. 

The Taliban reportedly took credit for the 2015 bombing. At least five people were killed.

THE QUESTION

Does this photo show the moment of the blast at Kabul’s airport on Aug. 26?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

Credit: Screenshot/Twitter

No, this photo doesn’t show the Aug. 26 explosion. The image shows the scene from the Kabul airport on Aug. 16.

WHAT WE FOUND

The photo was taken by Agence France-Presse journalist Wakil Kohsar, according to a caption from Getty Images

AFP Brussels Editor Dave Clark also took to Twitter to discourage sharing the photo, writing: “You've probably seen this photo circulating to show the bomb attack just now outside HKIA.  It's been on our @AFP wire since August 16. Remember news watchers: Check before you retweet.”

THE QUESTION

Does this video show the Aug. 26 explosion in Kabul?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

Credit: Screenshot/Twitter

No, the dramatic footage actually shows airstrikes on Israel's Gaza Strip on Aug. 21. 

WHAT WE FOUND

The video originally surfaced across social media on Aug. 21, where it was posted several times on Twitter (see here and here, as examples) and streamed from the Facebook page “moein al dabba,” which is a Palestinian news page with more than 19,000 followers. 

VERIFY could not independently confirm if “moein al dabba” is the original source of the footage. Content from the Middle East is shared across their Telegram channel, with more than 88,000 subscribers, and it is unclear if the channel is also a tip line.

The verified Twitter account from the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel corroborated the airstrikes on Aug. 21, tweeting there was “terrorist fire on the border with the Gaza Strip.” 

More from VERIFY: No, al-Qaida is not gone from Afghanistan

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