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Rex Tillerson
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during a media availability, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)

The Afghan president's office altered a photo from Rex Tillerson's visit



The U.S. and Afghanistan released photographs of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent visit to the latter country that seemingly do not match, according to The New York Times.

The Times on Monday reported that discrepancies existed between the State Department’s image of Tillerson’s trip and the picture from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s office.

The two photos show Ghani and Tillerson seated at the head of a room with a pair of large televisions behind them.

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The images also depict a thermos, two cups and bottled water on a nearby coffee table, and delegations for both Ghani and Tillerson sitting across from one another.

The version issued by Ghani’s office, however, erased a large digital clock and a red fire alarm behind both men.

The Times reported that the clock showed “Zulu time,” or the military term for Coordinated Universal Time.

The pair of devices would have suggested that the image was taken at an American military installation.

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Ghani’s office and the American Embassy in Afghanistan earlier on Monday said that Tillerson had a productive meeting with the Afghan leader in Kabul.

The Times reported, however, that their encounter instead took place at Bagram, a heavily-fortified U.S. military base about a 90-minute drive away.

“There is no question that the photo has been manipulated,” said Hany Farid, an expert in photo forensics and a professor of computer science at Dartmouth College.

Farid added that the editing done on the version released by Ghani’s office was most likely performed using Photoshop, editing software that can delete objects and refill space.

Some Twitter users on Tuesday shared comparisons of the two photos, which were snapped during Tillerson’s surprise visit to Afghanistan the day before.

Security concerns for high profile visitors to Afghanistan like Tillerson stem from the Taliban’s resurgence there.

More than 50 rockets landed at or around Kabul airport last month during Defense Secretary James Mattis’s visit.

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