The U.S. announced it had conducted a drone strike on July 31 killing al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul. But social media posts make unfounded claims that al-Zawahiri had died in 2020 from asthma. The posts cite an unconfirmed story in a British tabloid, which reported a year later that al-Zawahiri was still alive.
The U.S. is providing humanitarian aid through several independent organizations in Afghanistan, but not through the Taliban government. Yet an online article falsely claims that the Biden administration will “send the Taliban millions in US dollars,” and repeats a debunked claim about the cost of U.S. military weapons left after the U.S. withdrawal.
Afghanistan has implemented a COVID-19 vaccination program and, although administration of vaccines has slowed due to internal armed conflicts, the program is still underway. But some prominent conservative purveyors of misinformation in the U.S. have made false claims about vaccination efforts and the impact of the pandemic in Afghanistan.
Afghan journalists report that a video of a person suspended from a helicopter shows an operation in which the person was trying to change a flag. But critics of President Joe Biden have used the footage to claim the Taliban used U.S. equipment for a “hanging.” One person who shared the claim, Sen. Ted Cruz, later deleted his tweet, saying it “may be inaccurate.”
Q: Did the U.S. abandon its military dogs during its withdrawal from Afghanistan?
A: The Department of Defense maintains that none of its military service dogs were left behind. But animal welfare groups say some contract working dogs — which did not belong to the U.S., though some may have been contracted by the military — were left at the Kabul airport.
Malala Yousafzai has expressed deep concerns for women and children in Afghanistan since the Taliban entered the country’s capital on Aug. 15. Yet a post on social media falsely accused Yousafzai, a children’s rights advocate, of being “silent” about the Taliban takeover and the impact on Afghan girls and women.