Decade-old picture morphed to show Afghan women walking with feet chained under Taliban’s rule

Claims

An image has been shared on social media which shows a man walking in front of three women in burqas. He holds a chain in his hand which is tied around the women’s feet walking behind him. The photo has been shared with another image of women in western attire. Viral posts have been trying to draw a contrast between Afghanistan in the year 1960s and 70s and at present after the Taliban takeover.

TV9 Bharatvarsh anchor Shubhankar Mishra shared the pictures in his Twitter.

TV9 Bharatvarsh anchor Shubhankar Mishra shared the pictures in his Twitter.

Few hours later, he again tweeted the pictures in a different graphic, making its way even to Facebook, Alt News reported.

Shubhankar Mishra shared the pictures in his Twitter of Afghanistan

Fact

According to Alt News, there were several red flags that questioned the veracity of the image. The shadow of the shackles in the image looked a bit odd. The shadow is clearly seen between the man and the woman right behind him but missing between the first two women. It then reappears between the second and third woman.

Alt News performed a reverse image search of the picture using some keywords, which led to an article by ABP Ananda in 2017, the Bengali branch of ABP News. There were no shackles in the image featured in the article.

In a 2017 article, the photo was also shared in Modern Diplomacy and again no shackles were seen here.

Upon further research, a few blog posts were found from 2011 and 2012 containing the original image without the shackles.

Alt News located an archived version of one of the blog posts using the Internet Archive Library. The original picture was shared in May 2011, which means that the picture is almost a decade old.

All of these blog posts are either identical or have been copy-pasted word for word. As per Alt News, each one recounts an incident where American journalist Barbara Walters was doing a story in Afghanistan and spoke to an Afghani woman. Walters asked the Afghani woman why she was walking behind her husband, to which she responded saying, “Land mines.”

Abhijit Iyer Mitra shared the same story on Twitter in 2017, citing WhatsApp. Therefore, this anecdote had been also shared in India earlier.

Barbara Walters-reported story in 2014 was also investigated by American fact-checking agency Snopes. In conclusion, it said that this was just a satirical post, versions of which have been shared on the internet since 2001.

Therefore a ten-year-old image was edited and shared as recent after the Taliban’s captured Afghanistan.

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