Fake news on downed US aircraft
© DELFI

A U.S. Air Force C-130J crashed in Afghanistan after it was shot down by Taliban fighters. Eleven people were killed. The Kremlin's rumor mill began spreading this information Wednesday night. It was quickly exposed to be false news.

One of the Kremlin's main rumor sources, the internet portal REGNUM.ru, circulated the news Wednesday night based on a report from the US television channel CBS News.

According to the Americans and "their sources", a United States Air Force C-130J crashed in Afghanistan in the province of Jalalabad and "all 11 passengers - six crew members and five civilian NATO mission members - were killed". Official announcements do not mention the cause of the disaster, but Taliban fighters have already assumed responsibility for "knocking down the airplane."

REGNUM.ru further states that the situation in Afghanistan is worsening, as the "Islamic State" terrorists withdrawing from Syria have moved here. REGNUM.ru also relied on additional Kremlin information channels - Interfax, Komsomolskaya Pravda and others – as further sources.

Based on 3 year old rumors

However, DEMASKUOK.lt has checked the information, and was able to determine in just a few seconds that the message spread by REGNUM was a false interpretation of a disaster from 3 years ago.

In fact, REGNUM.ru "quoted" a dispatch about a U.S. airplane shot down in Afghanistan that CBS News never reported. What's more, the report itself is based on an excerpt from an English article published on a Twitter account called "Crystal #Team Putin". Although the source of the report itself is not specified, the content and details of the message itself are exactly the same as an October 2015 report on the website defensenews.com.

Additionally a Taliban spokesman on Twitter "took responsibility" for the allegedly shot down plane and 11 people killed in the crash. Also, U.S. Army Colonel Brian Tribus is quoted.

Moreover, the Russian military news website topwar.ru states that there are two different disasters that both occurred in Jalalabad, at the beginning of October, and in both cases cited by Col. B. Tribus. However, the photograph of the second disaster was not in Afghanistan, but in Iraq in 2005, when another C-130J aircraft crashed - in that incident there were no deaths, only a few injured crew members.

And the true cause of the disaster on October 2, 2015, was not related to Taliban activities. The investigation found that the aircraft pilots made a critical mistake: when landing the cargo plane, they had forgotten that they had left the night-vision goggle case next to the steering wheel.

Because the night-vision devices on the helmets make it difficult to see nearby objects, the pilot did not see the case, which was placed between the dashboard and the steering wheel causing the steering wheel to be tilted at an angle too high required for take-off. When the aircraft started to slow down, the pilots took inappropriate procedures because they did not see the case, and eventually the aircraft lost power and hit a guard tower. In the wake of the misfortune, 11 plane passengers and three Afghans were killed.

It is interesting that news about the Taliban victory was released by the Kremlin's mouthpieces at such an interesting time. It is only in recent months that talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government have been planned in Moscow, where the Taliban is still considered a banned organization. However, the United States is saying more loudly that it is Russia that has been supporting the Taliban with arms and other equipment in recent years - Moscow strongly denies this statement.

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