A number of mainstream media outlets have had to issue clarifications after it emerged that they had mistakenly relied on a fake Twitter account purporting to be Kabul University’s new Vice Chancellor, Mohammad Ashraf Ghairat. Since the 21st of September, the tweets from this account have been used by CNN and the New York Times among others as factually valid.
It has now become clear that the Twitter user operating this account was in fact not the new Taliban-appointed VC, but a 20-year-old student from the very same university. Calling himself Mahmoud and identifying himself as an undergraduate student of law, he spoke to The National to explain his reasons for making that account.
“I grew up in Kabul, I went to school and university, I had dreams of becoming an influential person in Afghan society and politics. But now look at what has happened with all my aspirations,” he told the media.
Furthermore, he added: “What is going on in Afghanistan right now is the real joke. It’s ridiculous. All of our leaders left the country and we are the ones left facing the Taliban.”
He also observed that the reason his tweets received attention in the mainstream media was because they were so close to the actual pronouncements of the new Taliban administration of Afghanistan.