A post accompanying an image showing hundreds of people packed in an aircraft is being shared with a claim that the image shows 800 people airlifted by the Indian Air Force airlifted from Kabul. Through this article, let’s fact-check the veracity of the claim made in the post.
Claim: Image showing IAF airlifting 800 people from Kabul amid recent tensions in Afghanistan.
Fact: This image is related to 2013 US Airforce’s operation Damayan to evacuate residents of the Tacloban city in Philippines following a super typhoon Haiyan. Recently, the US Airforce’s C-17 cargo jet airlifted hundreds of evacuees from Hamid Karzai International Airport and this news is falsely attributed to IAF’s C-17 cargo. According to news reports Indian Air force’s C-17 aircraft returned to Delhi from Kabul with more than 100 Indian evacuees. Hence the claim made in the post is MISLEADING.
The image is actually related to the operation Damayan carried out by the US Airforce back in 2013 to evacuate residents of the Tacloban city in the Philippines following a super typhoon Haiyan. Reverse image search of the photo in the post led us to the same photo on US Airforce’s official website with a description attributing it to operation Damayan. The image shows US Air Force C-17 jet rescuing 670 people, which is a record for airlifting the highest number of people in a single flight.
On 16 August 2021, US Airforce’s C-17 cargo jet airlifted hundreds of evacuees from Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul for Qatar. Initially, an audio clip from the cockpit revealed that there were 800 people on board. However, the actual passenger number was later confirmed to be 640. News article which reported this particular airlift can be read here. On the other hand, according to news reports, the Indian Air force’s C-17 aircraft returned to Delhi from Kabul with 45 Indian evacuees. It is possible that the airlifting through US Airforce’s C-17 aircraft is misconstrued as IAF’s C-17.
As per the news reports dated 16 August 2021, international flights are being diverted due to the closure of the Afghan airspace. With flights resuming from the Kabul airport, the latest reports indicate that India evacuated its embassy staff from Afghanistan including the ambassador. This is in addition to the 40 people evacuated earlier.
To sum it up, an old image related to the 2013 evacuation operation of typhoon-hit Philippines is passed off as IAF airlifting 800 people from Kabul.