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In this Aug. 16, 2021 photo, hundreds of people run alongside a moving U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane at the Kabul, Afghanistan, international airport. A similar image taken at the scene is being falsely characterized in some social media posts. (AP) In this Aug. 16, 2021 photo, hundreds of people run alongside a moving U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane at the Kabul, Afghanistan, international airport. A similar image taken at the scene is being falsely characterized in some social media posts. (AP)

In this Aug. 16, 2021 photo, hundreds of people run alongside a moving U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane at the Kabul, Afghanistan, international airport. A similar image taken at the scene is being falsely characterized in some social media posts. (AP)

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher August 27, 2021

No evidence that US Air Force plane evacuating Afghanistan airport was fake

If Your Time is short

  • There is no evidence that the plane was fake.

  • The U.S. has flown more than 82,000 people out of Afghanistan in recent days.

A widely shared Facebook post claims that a plane with the U.S. Air Force insignia, shown in a photograph evacuating people from Afghanistan, is fake.

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The plane evacuated hundreds of Afghan citizens fearing the Taliban. There is no evidence that it is fake.

The photo shows a plane with the words "U.S. Air Force" emblazoned on the side. In the foreground is a mass of people, including a man closest to the camera with both arms in the air.

The photo appears to capture an image from a news video that the Washington Post says was taken by Afghan journalist Bilal Sarwari Aug. 16. It showed a U.S. Air Force cargo plane that was taxiing at the Kabul airport. Some 640 Afghanistan civilians reportedly made it onto the plane, while others desperately attempted to grab onto the plane’s exterior as the plane began to depart.

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The plane had been surrounded by hundreds of Afghan civilians, the Air Force said in a statement, so "faced with a rapidly deteriorating security situation around the aircraft," the crew "decided to depart the airfield as quickly as possible."

In one of the largest airlifts in U.S. history, the U.S. flew 82,300 people out of Kabul between Aug. 14 and the afternoon of Aug. 25, according to official figures. These included a mix of U.S. citizens, green card holders, recipients of a special immigrant visa for helping the U.S. military or diplomats, refugees, and people seeking temporary humanitarian parole.

Afghans who are cleared to fly to the U.S. are brought to military bases, where vetting continues. 

We rate the post False.

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No evidence that US Air Force plane evacuating Afghanistan airport was fake

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