Fact check: Video claiming to show a man riding plane engine to escape Taliban is fake

·3 min read

The claim: A video shows a man riding outside a moving plane to escape the Taliban

After the Taliban moved into Kabul's U.S.-controlled airport and strengthened its grip on Afghanistan, thousands of civilians were left desperately seeking evacuation on Aug. 16.

Footage taken at Hamid Karzai International Airport showed Afghans rushing the tarmac, shoving their way up the staircases of loaded evacuation planes. Some clung to a military plane as it taxied. At least seven people died amid the chaos.

In the wake of that scene, a video has gone viral on social media that purports to show an Afghan civilian riding on the engine of an airplane in an attempt to flee the Taliban.

"Footage hits the net showing an Afghan going to desperate lengths to get away from the Taliban," reads the text next to an Aug. 17 Instagram video from a verified account that racked up more than 100,000 views in two days.

But the video isn't real. It's a digital creation that was first shared in 2020.

Fact check: Image altered to show CNN report saying Taliban takeover was 'violent but mostly peaceful'

USA TODAY reached out to the Instagram user and Gulistan News Channel for comment

Video is digital creation

BoomLive, an independent fact-checking organization, reported that a Vietnamese artist named Huy Xuân Mai first uploaded the video to Facebook and TikTok on Aug. 17, 2020, with the caption, "Experience the reclining chair of Vietnam."

The video also appears in a Dec.17, 2020, YouTube video from the channel Quân Hoa TV. The page's description says it is a channel "specializing in interesting Vlog videos between daily life and many interesting things from Photoshop."

The artist has previously shared videos in which he appears to be doing activities on the engine of a moving airplane such as sleeping, using a computer and eating a meal.

Spot.ph, a Filipino news organization, reported that the edited airplane videos were shared in March 2020 during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic when people were not allowed to travel.

Vietnamese news outlets have also reported on Mai's video manipulations. According to an August 2020 article, he is nicknamed "photoshop saint" by the online community and is known for tricking viewers into thinking his photos and videos are real.

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Our rating: Altered

Based on our research, we rate ALTERED a video that shows a man riding the outside of a plane in flight to escape the Taliban. The video is a 2020 digital creation by a Vietnamese artist who is known for creating videos of people doing activities on a moving aircraft.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Video of man riding a plane's engine is a digital creation