Not Real News

The Afghan flag flies atop the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 17. On Friday, The Associated Press reported on a photo circulating online that was digitally altered to make it appear that the Taliban flag was flying on the tower of the palace in Kabul on Sunday, Aug. 15.

CLAIM: A photo shows the Taliban flag flying on the tower of the Afghanistan presidential palace in Kabul on Sunday night.

THE FACTS: The photo is fake — an old photo was digitally altered to make it appear that the Taliban flag was flying above the palace. On Sunday, Taliban forces seized the presidential palace.

The Associated Press took photos and video Tuesday showing that the Afghan flag was still flying from the building. The photo that was manipulated was first shared in 2020 and originally showed the palace adorned with Afghan flags.

In the manipulated version, the Taliban flag replaces the Afghan flag. It looks clearly altered — the flag appears too rectilinear and the script too flat to be on a moving flag. The edited photo was shared across social media and by some media outlets, with captions saying it showed the fall of Afghanistan.

The Taliban took over Afghanistan two weeks before the U.S. was supposed to fully withdraw its troops from the country. President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country. AP photos showed the Taliban inside the presidential palace on Sunday.