New Afghan government rubbishes claims of Pakistan’s involvement in Panjshir

Updated with new data 7/9/21

By Shafek Koreshe

ISLAMABAD, Sept 7 (APP): The newly formed government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Tuesday strongly rubbished claims of any  Pakistani “interference” in either Panjshir or in the formation of the new government.

“The interference from Pakistan is a rumour that has been propagated during last 20 years,” Zabihullah Mujahid, the Spokesman and the new Information Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan said at a presser in Kabul Tuesday evening.

“We do not allow interference. We act with complete freedom and we were able to fight the world countries which were occupying our country,” he said in response to a question after announcing the new interim Afghan government set up in Kabul.

“From the outset, we fought the whole world for sake of Islam and our country,” Zabihullah said, rubbishing the narrative being built by the Indian media over Pakistan’s role in the comeback of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the routing of the Ashraf Ghani regime.

Meanwhile, a new data study on Tuesday revealed that 51% of news related to Pakistan and Afghanistan by the Indian media was fake.

On Monday the world’s largest democracy India, and its media again made a fool of themselves when it aired news and posted fake pictures of Pakistani Air Force fighters over the Panjsher valley, allegedly hitting targets and sharing pictures of a downed F-16.

The Indian media went berserk when the Twitter handle of Ahmed Massoud – claiming to be the Official Twitter account of the son of Massoud Ahmad Shah, shared a picture of an F-16, fairly undamaged on hilly terrain.

“The Pakistani Jet Plane that was shot down by the lion cubs #Resistance_Panjshir,” the tweet said and was rapidly shared by Indian and Afghan Twitter accounts. The majority of anti-Pakistan accounts carrying fake Afghan names, photos and IDs have mushroomed over the past few months and have been observed to be operated from India.

https://twitter.com/Mohsood123/status/1434824643735654409?s=20

What the commander of the Panjshir Resistance forces tried to hide was the fact that the picture of the aircraft he shared was that of a United States Air Force F-16 that crash-landed during a training exercise in April 2018 in Arizona, USA.

According to  G5iO – a platform focusing on using data and analytics to develop insights for policy and public interest said there has been a marked increase in disinformation and fake news proliferating throughout Indian Media related to the Afghanistan conflict.

The study showed how Indian media networks not only remained biased in favour of the
National Resistance Front (NRF) through mostly fake reports and analyses.

The report based on Twitter data from three major Indian news networks: The Republic, Times Now, and India Today included tweets, news reports, and commentary related to Panjshir over the last 15 days.

The Insights shared in the report say there was a predominant use of Fake News – 39% related to Panjshir. More than half (51%) of all coverage related to Pakistan on Afghanistan was fake.

The ratio between fake News and factual reporting was also lopsided, more than half (54%) of the reporting related to Panjshir by Times Now consisted of fake and, or unverified claims being pushed by the NRF.

Coverage Bias showed about 67% of total coverage related to Panjshir favoured the NRF’s stance, while 33% comprised statements and claims by Taliban officials.

A visibly irritated Indian media, since the routing of the corrupt Ashraf Ghani government at the hands of the Afghan Taliban, and withdrawal of the US forces, has been blaming Pakistan for the unprecedented upset.

Times Now – an Indian news outlet that claims to be the most-watched English News channel shared the visuals on its Twitter handle, prompting a strong backlash.

The channel claimed that the Pakistan Air Force was actively participating in the onslaught against the resistance and was supporting the Taliban forces.

However, soon after showing the video clip of an American F-15 flying in a valley, the channel faced a strong reaction as people pointed that the Pakistan Air Force has no twin-tailed fighter aircraft in its inventory.

George Allison, a journalist from the UK shared the visuals and said;”1st visuals of a fighter jet, allegedly belonging to Pakistan, hovering over Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan”, the trouble? It’s an American jet flying through Welsh valleys.

After around two hours the Times Now had to issue a clarification: “TIMES NOW erroneously ran visuals of a fighter jet hovering over #PanjshirValley in Afghanistan. The channel regrets the error and the tweet has been deleted.”

However, other mainstream Indian media was not to be left behind and followed suit and highlighted the claims of the Resistance Group that finally gave way to the Taliban takeover.

The well-reputed India Today was also not to be left behind and shared the picture of the USAF F-16 in Arizona and ran its Breaking News – Battle for Panjshir with claims that the “Resistance group claims shooting down Pak jet.”

Not to miss the bandwagon, the Republic TV and Hindi News channel Zee Hindustan ran footage from the video game Arma-3 as visuals from the ongoing military conflict in the Panjshir valley, Afghanistan.

The channel aired the footage stating that is from Hasti TV and shows airstrikes by Pakistani drones in Panjshir valley against resistance fighters. The title posted over the video read; “A video that we just received from Panjshir shows that a Pakistani military aeroplane is flying over Panjshir.”

This was shared by UK-based Pakistani security analyst Faran Jeffery, however later he pointed that the video was from a video game that was currently being shared by pro-resistance accounts as proof of claims that Pakistani drones were attacking Panjshir.

He said the video game clip of ARMA 3 was aired by Republic TV, Zee Hindustan and Times Now Navbharat as Pakistani airstrike in Afghanistan’s Panjshir. Another footage from ARMA 3 was also broadcast by TV9 Bharatvarsh, he pointed.

The MSN News18 in a desperate bid not to be left behind in a video report shared “undeniable proof of how Pakistan supported the Taliban in taking over Panjshir valley. Pakistani plane bombed the NRF headquarters.”

Hysterical Indian newscasters and anchors did their best to show that the end of the world was near, or almost near.

Notwithstanding the fact that Panjshir fell to the Taliban, the Indian media continues to cry foul as it finds it hard to see its US three billion dollars of funding in terror networks go down the drain.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman of the Islamic Emirate in a statement said Monday evening said “The last stronghold of the mercenary enemy, Panjshir province,  was completely conquered. With the help of Almighty God and the support of our people, the latest efforts towards complete security in the country have also yielded results and Panjshir province has come under the complete control of the Islamic Emirate.

“Some of the insurgents and insurgents in the province were defeated and the rest fled, freeing the oppressed and honorable people of Panjshir.

“We assure the people of Panjshir Sharif that they will not be discriminated against in any way, they are all our brothers, we will serve together for one country and one goal.

“With this victory and last effort, the rest of the country will be completely out of the war and our country will have a peaceful and prosperous life in an atmosphere of freedom, independence and prosperity. God willing,” the statement said.

The netizens in Pakistan on the other hand had a field day enjoying to the fullest the Indian claims. Many posted that the Pakistan Navy had also sent its submarines and ships to attack the Resistance in Panjshir. Some came up with the idea of showing dragons flying over the valley.

The pathetic Indian mindset could be judged from just one tweet of Maj Gen (Dr)GD Bakshi SM, VSM (retd), who claims to be a combat veteran, a Phd in Strategic Studies and author of 40 books and who has been a constant source of amusement for the social media buffs.

Some replied in awe and wondered whether such people have been really Generals in the Indian army, while others said it was just another script from a flop Bollywood movie.

Nauman Bangish said the General seemed to e facing  “Nightmare disorder, also known as dream anxiety disorder, is a sleep disorder characterized by frequent nightmares. And this man is on another Level of Nightmares related to Pakistan Army.

APP Digital Special