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An image purported to show the new head of the Afghan central bank, Haji Mohammad Idris, sitting at a desk with an assault rifle, is actually an old photo of an unidentified Taliban taken presumably outside Kabul in a building of the General Department of Afghan Revenue.
The alleged photo of Haji Mohammad Idris, the new head of the Afghan central bank appointed by the Taliban regime, is circulating since August 17 on social networks. It was picked up by several Indian media, including the India Today television channel with the caption “Haji Mohammad Idris, the new governor of the Afghan central bank”.
In France, a tweet from a journalist from Le Point published on September 9 and reproducing the photo and the erroneous statement was “liked” more than 5,100 times.
The photo is not that of Mohammad Idris and was presumably not taken in the Central Bank
A comparison of the director’s supposed photo with the official photos posted by the Central Bank of Afghanistan on Facebook on August 23 shows that the faces of the two men do not match.
In the official photos taken at the Afghan Central Bank, we see a presentation meeting of the administration leadership. Mohammad Idris is seated at the head of the table. The photo is accompanied by the caption “Mr. Maulvi Abdul Qahir, known as Haji Mohammad Idris, as Governor of Afghanistan Bank, [s’est] addressed to the assembly “.
Another photo of Mohammad Idris, wearing the same clothes – white shirt and black turban – was posted on Twitter on September 6 by the Afghan central bank account. The two men do not match.
Additional research shows that the photo of the armed Taliban was not taken at the central bank headquarters in Kabul, the country’s capital, but rather at an office in another Afghan province, potentially in Laghman, a province of the country. eastern Afghanistan.
Indeed, in the photo which has gone viral on social networks, we can see in the background a blue flag on which are written words in the Pashto language, one of the two official languages of the country. These words refer to the General Department of Afghan Revenue.
When we look at the Facebook account of the General Department, we can recognize the place where the Taliban photo was taken: Photos released on October 10, 2020 show a videoconference between the Directorate-General for Revenue and its offices outside the capital, in which a participant’s background can be seen the office where the armed Taliban was photographed. We find the same blue flag with the inscriptions, as well as the wall storage in the shape of an eight-pointed star.
In another photo published on November 9, 2020 by the General Revenue Department on the occasion of another videoconference, we note the same background on the webcam of a man recorded in the videoconference under the name of “Laghman” .
These visual clues, as close to the initial photo as they are, however, do not allow us to say with certainty that the photo would have been taken in a specific building. Nevertheless, the Pashto inscriptions suggest that the photo of the armed Taliban was taken in a building of the General Department of Afghan Revenue, and not at the headquarters of the Afghan central bank in Kabul.
Who is the new head of the central bank?
A photo of Mohammad Idris has been confirmed by an Afghan journalist interviewed by the Indian fact-checking organization Boom, who wishes to remain anonymous.
The Taliban appointed Mohammad Idris as the new head of the Afghan central bank on August 23. According to Reuters, Mohammad Idris has no formal financial training, although he was previously the head of the finance section of the Taliban movement. He succeeds Ajmal Ahmady, who left the country after the capture of the capital Kabul by the Taliban in August.
The Taliban announced on September 7 part of their future government, some of whose members are on the UN blacklist.