Pakistani forces did not launch recent air strikes in Afghanistan

False claim shared by Afghan media spreads disinformation

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Claim: Social media posts claim that Pakistani forces launched air strikes against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

Fact: The claim is false. Pakistan’s Foreign Office denied the attacks; similarly, the Taliban have not confirmed any air strikes by Pakistan.

On 5 January 2022, a Twitter page Regional Security Advisory posted a news story with the caption, “#Pakistani forces launched an air strike on #TTP strongholds in #Nangarhar province, following repeated warnings from both #Taliban #Pakistan governments.”

The tweet links to an article published by local Afghan tabloid Hasht-e-Subh. The newspaper claimed that Pakistan launched an air strike on TTP strongholds in the Nangarhar province and bombed targets in the Salala neighbourhood in the vicinity of the Gushta district on 5 January 2022.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check found the claim made in the report to be false. No statement was made by either the official representative of the Afghan Taliban, Sohail Shaheen, or the spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahid, to suggest an air strike had taken place in Afghanistan. Similarly, the TTP did not make any statements confirming the attack.

On the other hand, Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch rejected the reports claiming that Pakistan had carried out airstrikes in Afghanistan, terming them to be “utterly baseless and malicious”.

Soch Fact Check further investigated and found that no such incident was reported by other Afghan or Pakistani media outlets.

Moreover, this is not the first time Hasht-e-Subh Daily made a false claim regarding Pakistani forces attacking the Taliban. Previously in 2021, Soch Fact Check debunked false claims regarding the death of Afghan Taliban supreme leader Haibatullah Akhunzada by Pakistani forces. These claims originated from a story published by the same news outlet.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 7-day period from 1 to 7 January using the following search terms:

  • “Pakistani forces launched an air strike on TTP”

The search term received 584 interactions across five public posts on Facebook. It was first published by Hasht-e-Subh here.

News18.com, the online arm of the Indian English-language news television channel CNN News18 (formerly CNN IBN) also run false claim as an exclusive report here.

On Twitter, the false claim was posted here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Conclusion: Pakistan did not launch air strikes against the TTP in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan. The Pakistan Foreign Office rejected the claim and no reliable news organisations have reported on the matter.

 

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