Do These Images Show Mass Graves From a Taliban Invasion in Panjshir?

On October 9, 2021,  images of a mass grave surfaced on the internet with claims that this was the fourth mass grave discovered in Panjshir, Afghanistan. These bodies are alleged to be of civilians who disappeared when the Taliban invaded Panjshir.

Background

Panjshir has been facing conflict between Taliban and Panjshir’s resistant forces. Located in Afghanistan’s northeastern part, Panjshir has been holding off the Taliban. The National Resistance Front (NRF) is said to be supported by Afghanistan’s former vice president and led by Ahmad Massoud.

Piga Firimbi previously looked into claims that Ahmad Massoud shot down a jet in Panjshir in a fact-check published here.

Verification

Reverse image results show that the first image of the alleged mass grave was shared as early as April 7, 2015. According to Reuters, these bodies were exhumed in former Iraqi’s president Saddam Hussein’s compound in Tikrit on April 6, 2015. This is years before the recent attacks by the Taliban which were launched on May 1, 2021 and saw the capture of the first provincial capital, Zaranj on August 6, 2021.

The second image on the other hand was shared as early as May 18, 2014 by Tasnim News Agency as Piga Firimbi found from this Google reverse image search. According to this article, this was a mass grave identified in Iraq. 

Verdict

NO, these mass graves were not found in Panjshir, Afghanistan. 

This story was produced by Africa Uncensored in partnership with Code for Africa with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie.

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Nyakerario Omari

Nyakerario J. Omari is a Kenyan writer and journalist with a passion for in-depth stories told through documentaries. She has an interest in reporting matters concerning health, crime and human rights.