Old photo shows Afghan soldier in Kabul, not 'Pakistani soldier hitting woman in Lahore'
A photo that appears to show a soldier about to beat a woman with his rifle has been shared in multiple social media posts that falsely claim it was taken during clashes between police and supporters of Imran Khan outside the former Pakistani prime minister's residence in the Zaman Park suburb in Lahore in March 2023. The photo has in fact circulated online since at least October 2022. It shows a Taliban soldier and a protester during a demonstration by ethnic Hazara women in Afghanistan's capital Kabul.
The photo was published on Facebook here on March 16, 2023.
"This photo of a soldier hitting a woman with the butt of his rifle is from Zaman Park," the caption in Urdu reads.
"I can say with conviction that had Pakistan's system brought the people behind the Model Town tragedy to justice, these scenes would not have been seen again."
The "Model Town tragedy" refers to a clash between police and activists from the Pakistan Awami Tehreek party on June 17, 2014. According to a Geo News report, at least 14 people were killed and more than 100 injured.
The same photo was shared alongside a similar claim elsewhere on Facebook here, here and here; and on Twitter here.
It was shared after Pakistani police halted an attempt to execute a warrant to arrest former prime minister Imran Khan, ending a siege of his residence that saw violent clashes between police and hundreds of his supporters.
Khan later travelled to a court in Islamabad to answer accusations that he did not declare gifts received during his time as prime minister, or the profit made from selling them.
He was not able to enter the court building as his supporters mobbed the complex and clashed with police. One of Khan's lawyers told AFP the court cancelled the arrest warrant after it was satisfied with Khan's attempt to attend the hearing. The hearing has been adjourned until March 30.
However, the picture was not taken during the clash between police and Khan's supporters in March. It has circulated online since October 2022.
Demonstration in Kabul
A reverse image search on Google reveals the same photo was used in an article published by Green Left, an Australia-based website, on October 13, 2022.
The photo was published in an article about a protest by ethnic Hazara Afghans in Kabul, captioned: "A member of the Taliban security forces threatens a protester in Kabul."
Below is a screenshot comparison of the photo used in the false posts (left) and the photo as it appears in the Green Left article (right):
The uniform and the patch on the soldier's arm in the picture are the same as those used by Afghan Taliban fighters, as shown in this AFP photo taken in September 2021.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the patch as seen in the photo used in the false social media posts (left) and the same patch as seen in an AFP photo (right):
AFP has previously debunked false claims that have emerged following the clashes at Zaman Park here, here and here.