Truth or Fake

India and Pakistan wage disinformation war over Taliban in Panjshir Valley

In Afghanistan's Panjshir, India and Pakistan are engaged in a communication war based on misinformation.
In Afghanistan's Panjshir, India and Pakistan are engaged in a communication war based on misinformation. © Observers

The Taliban claims to have captured Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley on September 6, but the Afghan resistance says they still have control over the stronghold. As this conflict plays out between the Taliban and resistance groups, it has also prompted a war on another front: a misinformation war between the Indian media and Pakistan. Our team looked at two examples.

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For the Taliban, the capture of Panjshir – the province of the "Five Lions" in Persian, and the last pocket of active resistance against the Islamist group – is a major symbolic stake. This valley, in the northeast of Afghanistan, is infamously difficult to conquer.

But the region also has a stake for Pakistan and India, whose continued rivalry can be seen through the conflict in Afghanistan. Pakistan, through Prime Minister Imran Khan, welcomed the Taliban's capturing of Kabul and the departure of US and allied forces. India, on the other hand, fears that Afghanistan could become a sanctuary for Islamist groups, especially those operating in Kashmir. 

In this context, some Indian media outlets, such as India Today or Zee Hindustan, have been broadcasting old photos or videos out of context. Two of these misleading pieces of information were spotted by our Indian colleagues, specialised in fact-checking, BoomLive and Alt News.