FACT CHECK: Old video passed off as footage of Panjshir Ambush between Northern Alliance and Taliban

False International

The Panjshir province in Afghanistan has been the only province in the country that was not seized earlier by the Taliban. News reports state that the resistance force have inflicted heavy casualties on the Taliban.  

Amidst this, a video showing heavy warfare is circulating on social media claiming that it shows the Taliban and Northern Alliance Resistance’s final battle for Panjshir. 

The caption of one such posts states “Taliban v/s Northern Allience final Battle for Panjsheer.”

Original Post- Facebook | Archived Link

Fact Crescendo found that the video is old and not from the ongoing unrest. 

Social media is flooded with misinformation related to the ongoing unrest in Afghanistan post the Taliban take over. You can read more fact checks related to this incident by following the link below:

Fact Check Methodology

At first, we split the video into keyframes using the Invid-we verify tool and saw a YouTube link from a year ago with the caption in Spanish, “Lo que es un combate real” which translateS into “What is a real combat”. The video was uploaded by the YouTube channel with a description in Spanish “Combate entre humanos” which translates into “Combat between humans”. 

Archived Link

This proves that the video is not recent. 

Following this, we ran another search with the thumbnail image of the video and found a website, Destimap. The thumbnail appeared on a page on “Museum of the Foreign Legion” on the site, with a link to a YouTube video uploaded on February 18, 2018, with the caption “■ ■ ■ Afghanistan Combat Footage | French Foreign Legion” by the YouTube channel “war is hell”. The description of the video states “French foreign legion is fighting in Afghanistan”.

We looked up French Foreign Legion and saw a page on the Brittanica website about this elite military force, originally consisting of foreign volunteers in the pay of France but now comprising volunteer soldiers from any nation, including France, for service in France and abroad. The article also states that “It saw action in the Persian Gulf War of 1990–91 and has since been sent often to Africa, as well as to Southeast Asia, the Balkans, and Afghanistan.” 

To know more about the viral video, we ran another reverse image search on Google with a combination of the keyframes and keywords. We saw a YouTube link with the same video. Captioned “Afghanistan août 2008 vallée d’Uzbin,” which translates into Afghanistan August 2008 Uzbin Valley, the video was uploaded by the YouTube channel Stephan ABBEY Stormpics on Aug 23, 2019.

We also saw a News Report by BBC with the headline “French troops spearhead assault in Afghanistan” published on December 17, 2009 which mentions that “Ten French soldiers were killed in the area in August 2008 when they were ambushed by Taliban fighters.” Similar information has been included as text in the above YouTube video on the Uzbin Valley ambush.

Finally, we found that the same video was posted on YouTube by the channel 

lopez84420 back in December 2010 with the caption “AFGHANISTAN LEGION”. It is the same video but with a better resolution and hence more clarity. As we can see in the screenshot below, the French Emblem is clearly visible on the arm of the soldier, proving beyond any doubt that the video is from many years ago and is of the French Foreign Legion.

YouTube link

Conclusion 

The claim that this viral video is recent is False. The video shows French Foreign Legion troopers, is old and has no connection with the ongoing unrest at Afghanistan. 

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Title:Old video passed off as footage of Panjshir Ambush between Northern Alliance and Taliban

Fact Check By: Manjori Borkotoky 

Result: False


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