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Photo of Afghan men on plane is from 2018

August 18, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Photo shows a plane full of Afghan refugees being evacuated from the country this week, with not a single woman or child among them.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. This photo appeared online as early as 2018. It shows Afghan refugees being sent back to their country from Turkey, according to a story at the time from Turkey’s state-run news agency, the Anadolu Agency.

THE FACTS: The 3-year-old photo looks down the aisle of an airplane filled with men, some of them waving at the camera. Social media users are sharing it as new this week with claims it shows only men, with no women and children, being evacuated from Kabul after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan.

“And not a single woman or child among them!” one Facebook user wrote alongside the picture. “As if the invasion of our southern border weren’t enough of a challenge. Now the biden Administration is flying in hardened, fighting-aged men from Afghanistan.”

“Another wave of ‘refugees’ is already heading to Europe, this time from Afghanistan,” wrote another Facebook user, who added, sarcastically, “As you can see, these are mostly women with young children!”

But a reverse-image search reveals the picture does not show recent evacuation efforts from Afghanistan. The Anadolu Agency shared it online as early as 2018.

The photo showed some 324 Afghan refugees who had entered Turkish territory illegally and were detained and sent back to Afghanistan, according to an April 2018 article on the Spanish-language version of the Anadolu Agency’s website.

Photos captured this week show that hundreds of Afghan men, women and children have been evacuated from Afghanistan since the Taliban’s takeover.


This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.