Taliban Stock Photo?

This photo keeps cropping up any time that the Taliban get mentioned in a news article unrelated to a specific incident.

Al Qaeda Ojai

This photo always strikes me as something extracted from a grade B film rather than a bit of candid photography done in Eastern Afghanistan. I mean, the scenery resembles that of Ojai more than anything near Waziristan.

The last time I saw this photo used was in The Indian Express. It’s curious that no credit was given to the photographer or agency.

Most of the elements in this photo seem poorly assembled. The pakol seems out of place. The insurgent wearing it seems to have prepped himself with clean clothing and trimmed beard on discovering that today was the day of the photo shoot. The bandolier and lightweight vest look like props borrowed from a different movie set. Does the face cover on two of the ‘insurgents’ make sense in this setting? How common is a metal roofed building in this part of the country?

Maybe it’s just me but the more I look at this photo, and it seems to keep cropping up in unrelated stories, the more it seems like something staged in the West for sale as a “Taliban fighter” stock photo. Does anyone know the origin of this oft used image?


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