A number of prominent Republican politicians have shared a viral video that falsely claimed to show the Taliban executing a man by hanging him from a Black Hawk helicopter in Afghanistan.
The 11-second clip has been viewed over three million times after it was posted to Twitter by “comedian” @Holbornlolz.
Fact-checkers at Snopes, Reuters and BBC News debunked the claim that it was an execution – rather, the man was suspended in a harness and he could be seen moving and waving.
The BBC reported that in further footage, the man could be seen waving the Taliban flag and he was hoisted up by the helicopter in an attempt to place the flag over a public building.
Afghan news agency Aśvaka, who had their own recording of the incident in question, told fact-checkers at Alt News that the dangling man was trying to fix a flag at the governor’s building in Kandahar.
Twitter added a warning to the original video stating that the media is presented out of context, but did not remove it.
The video, and the false claim that it depicted a Taliban execution, was shared by Republican politicians Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Dan Crenshaw.
In the now-deleted quote tweet from Cruz, he commented: “This horrifying image encapsulates Joe Biden’s Afghanistan catastrophe: The Taliban hanging a man from an American Blackhawk helicopter. Tragic. Unimaginable.”
In a follow-up tweet, Cruz admitted that the video he shared “may be inaccurate” – while again sharing the fake video.
Crenshaw tweeted: “In what f***ing world was it a good idea to just hand over a country to these people.”
Conservative commentator Liz Wheeler also shared the video, adding: “If this is what it looks like… the Taliban hanging somebody from an American Blackhawk… I could vomit. Joe Biden is responsible.”
In reshares of the video, some went so far as to guess who it was that was supposedly being executed.
In a now-deleted tweet, Zee News editor Sudhir Chaudhary said: “Taliban hang a person, presumed to be an American interpreter, from a U.S. Blackhawk helicopter.”
Fox News host Sean Hannity, who has over five million followers on Twitter, also shared an article about the fake video, saying it “appears to show” the Taliban hanging a man.
In the transcript of Hannity’s show, it’s said he remarked: “We had a video today of one of our Black Hawk helicopters with somebody hanging from it as it moves through the sky. You know, they’re probably — they’re probably have a gun to an Afghan army soldier’s head, a pilot, to pilot that thing and that’s how they’re doing this.” [sic]
Donald Trump Jr has also changed his banner on Twitter to a meme mocking Biden that uses the president’s campaign logo but has replaced the final line of the ‘E’ with a silhouette of the helicopter and the man hanging below.