On July 13, CNN reported that the Taliban last month executed 22 Afghan special forces commandos who had surrendered in the town of Dawlat Abad in Faryab province. The story featured low-quality video purportedly showing the scene.
In the beginning of the video, unarmed men in military uniforms appear to be surrendering to armed Taliban gunmen surrounding them. Within seconds, gunfire and screaming can be heard; the bloody bodies of the men in uniform are then shown lying on the ground. CNN said it obtained several videos of the incident and verified them.
In response to the CNN story, Suheil Shaheen, an official negotiator and spokesperson for the Taliban, claimed on Twitter that the video was phony.
“A report of CNN claiming that the Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate have killed enemy’s commando soldiers after surrendering is not true,” he wrote in a tweet.“A fake scene has been montaged with another scene of 22 commandos who had been killed during fighting in Faryab province.”
In a follow-up tweet, he wrote: “The two scenes have been photoshopped and montaged, for preparation of the report.”
These claims are likely false.
It’s important to note the heritage of the video. It was originally posted July 7 on a website called Funker530, which hosts combat footage from around the world. In accompanying text, Funker530 said the video was provided by an anonymous source that same day. Funkder350 noted that the Taliban had not claimed responsibility.
The post also claimed 10 victims, although how that was determined is unspecified.