Former Indian Army officers bolster propaganda about Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan

Ex-Indian Army officers share images of Pakistani actors as soldiers in Afghanistan

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Claim: Pakistani soldiers were martyred during the Panjshir conflict in Afghanistan.

Fact: The proof posted on social media by former Indian Army officers was, in fact, a picture of Pakistani actors in a military movie.

On 10 September, various former officers of the Indian Army posted updates from Afghanistan on their social media, sharing a picture of what they claimed were Pakistani soldiers in Panjshir Valley after the Taliban took over the province.

(Top) Screenshot of a tweet by Major General (r) Gagan Deep Bakshi, who claimed that the Pakistan Army’s Special Service Group (SSG) “suffered very heavy casualties in Panjshir”. (Bottom) Screenshot of Major General (r) Bakshi’s post on Facebook, claiming that the Pakistan Army had given out awards upon soldiers for Operation Panjshir.

Retired Majors-General Harsha Kakar and Gagan Deep Bakshi, as well as Colonel (r) Divakaran Padma Kumar Pillay, shared pictures of four men wearing the Pakistan Army uniform, claiming that they were Pakistani soldiers who were martyred during the country’s “interference” in Afghanistan.

A Twitter search of Major General (r) Bakshi’s tweets on “Panjshir” shows some of his posts on the topic.

The first one to share the so-called “updates” was Major General (r) Bakshi, who claimed in a tweet on 10 September that Pakistan Army’s Special Service Group (SSG) had “suffered very heavy casualties in Panjshir” and that hospitals in Peshawar, Swat, and Quetta were “overflowing” as a result of the casualties. The ex-Indian Army officer additionally asserted, “Maj Gen Adil Rehmani has come back to organise discreet funerals in dead of Night”.

In a Facebook post, Major General (r) Bakshi claimed that the Pakistan Army had given out awards for Operation Panjshir, with a certain Major General Adil Rehmani and a certain Lt Col Umaid receiving the “Hilal – e- Imtiaz ( military)” and “Tagma-e-Baslat”, respectively, while different honours were bestowed upon other officers.

Screenshots of two tweets by Major General (r) Kakar asking if Pakistan will “admit the truth and honour its dead” and if bot Twitter accounts will “deny Pak involvement in #Panjshir”.

Major General (r) Kakar, meanwhile, has been actively posting similar updates on Twitter, questioning National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf’s comments on CNN’sConnect the World,” where the Pakistani government official described allegations of Islamabad’s support for the Taliban as “preposterous”.

Kakar also quote-tweeted a post by IFE News Agency — an India-based news portal — that claimed the “Pakistan Army Lost 19 in #Punjshir” due to retaliation by the National Resistance Front (NRF). “Will Pak admit the truth and honour its dead or will it ignore them as before,” he asked. In another similar post that he quote-tweeted, he asked if “Pak bots jump and deny Pak involvement in #Panjshir”?

A now-deleted tweet by Cdr (r) Pillay questioning Pakistan’s behaviour towards its soldiers.

In a post that seems to have been deleted now, Cdr (r) Pillay also shared the photo of the Pakistani soldiers, writing: “When will Pakistan learn to honour their soldiers – they failed them in Kashmir in 1947 [in] East Pakistan in kargil and now here”. His tweet, however, was saved as a screenshot by journalist Aniqa Nisar.

Soch Fact Check investigated the source of the picture and discovered it is in fact from the 2017 Pakistani military movie “Yalghaar”.

The most-shared picture is a behind-the-scenes image of actors Shaan Shahid, Bilal Ashraf, and Umair Jaswal posing in military uniforms.

Conclusion: Retired Indian Army officers falsely claimed that the individuals in an image they shared on social media were Pakistani officers who were martyred in the Panjshir conflict in the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. The former Indian military men’s posts seem to be part of the propaganda alleging that Islamabad is involved in Kabul’s affairs.

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