WASHINGTON – A photo of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Afghanistan appears to have been altered to suggest he was in Kabul, not a US air base miles away.
Images show him meeting President Ashraf Ghani in a windowless room at Bagram Airfield, under a US military clock and a red fire alarm.
But an Afghan press release with a similar photo minus the clock or alarm says Mr Ghani “received” Mr Tillerson.
Both sides initially said that the meeting took place in Kabul.
The US State Department later issued a correction, saying it had taken place at Bagram, the biggest American military base in Afghanistan.
A press release from the US embassy in Afghanistan includes a photo with the wall above the two men’s heads cropped out.
However, another photo tweeted by the embassy clearly shows the clock and alarm, “in what would be a giveaway that it was an American military facility,” the New York Times notes.
The digital clock shows “Zulu” time (the military term for GMT), local time and Eastern Time.
But in the Afghan government’s photo, there is no clock or alarm, with one expert telling the Times there was “no question” it had been manipulated. Neither side has explained the discrepancy.
Mr Tillerson’s visit, said by the New York Times to have lasted just two hours, was kept secret until the trip ended amid increasing security concerns in the country.
Several weeks ago, rockets targeted Kabul airport during US Defence Secretary James Mattis’s visit.