Don't Believe This Kabul McDonald's Tweet

There's enough chaos happening in Afghanistan right now that nobody should be worrying about a fake tweet claiming to be about "the only McDonald's in Afghanistan" (via Instagram). But here we are. If you've seen the "tweet," which appears to be from the verified account of Australia-based reporter Dylan Welch, then don't believe it. Reuters has checked it out and determined that it's false.

The fake tweet said the McDonald's restaurant at the airport in the Afghan capital of Kabul is remaining open even as the nation's government collapses and the Taliban takes over — a situation outlined in a separate Reuters report. The McDonald's was being run by American Marines and would stay open, the fake tweet said, "until the last American leaves."

The photo accompanying the fake tweet even showed what looked like a McDonald's restaurant, with a sign displaying Arabic script, the golden arches, and "McDonald's" in English. A report from the Spanish news outlet ABC International from 2013 said the restaurant was in an affluent part of Kabul — not the airport — and was connected in no way with McDonald's global fast food operations. A list on the McDonald's website of the 100 or so countries where the chain operates does not include Afghanistan.

The U.S. military is overseeing an evacuation from Afghanistan, not running a McDonald's

The real Dylan Welch, who works for ABC Investigations in Australia, saw that his Twitter account had been impersonated in order to spread false information about a supposed Afghan McDonald's. Welch took to Twitter to set the record straight. "Someone has created a fake tweet pretending it's from me about US Marines and a restaurant in Kabul called Mcdonald's," Welch tweeted. "I didn't write it. Please ignore it and focus instead on the plight of the millions of people in #Afghanistan abandoned by the int'l community." The fake tweet had surfaced on Facebook and Instagram, according to Reuters. Ironically, it probably never appeared on Twitter. As one Twitter commenter observed, the fake tweet looked like it had been Photoshopped. Reuters dug a little and traced the fake tweet to a 4Chan forum.

The Washington Post reported on August 18 that efforts continue to evacuate thousands of Americans and certain Afghans from Kabul. The U.S. military had withdrawn from Afghanistan, which led to a quick Taliban takeover of the country. Now, American troops are returning to safeguard the evacuation effort.