CLAIM: Video of a man dangling from a helicopter in Kandahar, Afghanistan, shows the Taliban performing a public execution.
THE FACTS: Footage of a man suspended from a helicopter in Afghanistan sparked outrage online last week as social media users, politicians and news outlets falsely claimed that it showed the Taliban killing someone in a public display.
“The Taliban are now hanging people from our left-behind helicopters and flying them around for all to see …" one Twitter user wrote Monday, in a post shared nearly 6,000 times. “This is on every single Biden voter.”
The video does appear to show the Taliban using a Black Hawk helicopter that previously was used by the Afghan military, according to the markings on the aircraft. But, it shows not a killing, but a Taliban fighter trying to place a flag on a tall flagpole at the Kandahar governor’s office Aug. 29, according to Saadullah Wolesmal and Farid Ahmad Yousuni, two residents of Kandahar who watched the scene as it played out.
Wolesmal said the pole was a remnant of the Afghan government, and Afghanistan’s black, red and green flag previously was affixed to it. A Taliban fighter was suspended from a helicopter and tried to affix the Taliban’s white flag to the pole. He did not succeed, Wolesmal and Yousuni said.
A close analysis of videos from the scene shows that the man dangling from the helicopter was hanging from a harness, not from his neck, and could be seen waving his arms. Footage from additional angles circulating on social media confirms that the man was suspended near a flagpole that matches the poles at the Kandahar governor’s office.