Taliban fighters in a vehicle patrol the streets of Kabul on August 23, 2021. ( AFP / Wakil KOHSAR)

False claim circulates that video shows public execution by the Taliban

  • This article is more than one year old.
  • Published on August 26, 2021 at 05:13
  • Updated on August 31, 2021 at 08:09
  • 2 min read
  • By AFP Hong Kong
A video of people shot dead in a public square has been viewed thousands of times in Twitter posts that claim it shows an execution by Taliban fighters after they took control of Afghanistan in August. The claim is false; the video has circulated online since at least 2014 in posts about the execution of Syrian soldiers.

"After entering the city, the Taliban first convicted the landlords and the rich who hadn't escaped, parading them on the streets and executing them in public," reads this simplified Chinese-language tweet posted on August 19.

It features a graphic video which has been viewed more than 13,000 times.


Show Hide

Content warning

Screenshot taken on August 25, 2021, of the misleading Twitter post

The video was also published here and here on Twitter alongside a similar claim.

The posts surfaced after Taliban fighters entered the Afghan capital Kabul on August 15, sealing the group's nationwide military victory in just 10 days. 

However, the claim is false.

The earliest and longest version of the video AFP found online was published in this Facebook post on March 20, 2014.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video shared in the misleading posts (left) and the Facebook video published in 2014 (right).


Show Hide

Content warning

Screenshot comparison of the video shared in the misleading posts (L) and the video published in 2014 (R)

An AFP journalist said that people in the video spoke Arabic with a Syrian dialect.

The Arabic-language caption of the video states it shows the execution of Syrian soldiers near Al-Kindi Hospital in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Syrian rebels seized the hospital in Aleppo on December 20, 2013, according to media reports here and here.

The flag of Syria's Al-Nusra Front, an affiliate of the extremist Islamic group Al-Qaeda, can also be seen at the 31-second mark of the video.

Al-Nusra first emerged in January 2012, which suggests that the video could not be taken during the Taliban's first ruling period in Afghanistan from 1995 to 2001.

Is there content that you would like AFP to fact-check? Get in touch.

Contact us