QAnon Followers Think Afghanistan's Collapse to the Taliban Is a 'False Flag'

Members of the fractured QAnon conspiracy community have reacted to the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, with some believing it was a false flag to distract the American public from upcoming audit results in Arizona.

Speculation among the QAnon followers was sparked in the aftermath of the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan's capital last week, which cleared the final hurdle to it controlling the country.

Ron Watkins, who previously has been accused of being the elusive 'Q' persona (something he denies), shared a post with his 395,000 Telegram followers where he pondered whether the ongoing disaster was a "distraction" to draw attention away from the upcoming report on the Maricopa audit.

He said: "The ongoing failure in Afghanistan is just the beginning of a planned distraction campaign so they can ignore the Maricopa County Audit results. All eyes on Maricopa County."

He later added: "Afghanistan may very well be out of the news cycle by the time the Maricopa audit results drop next week.

"Acknowledge the distractions, but don't focus on them. Remember that the audit results are the most important. While they scramble to find the next false flag to distract with, we can just wonder.

"How many countries will fail to distract the populace from the audit results? Is Taiwan next?"

Newsweek found dozens of commenters agreeing with Watkins that the fall of Kabul in some way was a distraction campaign that had been started before the report into the audit is submitted to the Arizona state Senate next week.

One commenter said: "Yes. Distractions to take our focus off the audits. Pray for the people of Afghanistan, but watch the audits."

Another Telegram account with some 52,950 followers also speculated a plane seen leaving Kabul was not in fact in Afghanistan and was in fact filmed at a different location.

As proof, they noted a serial number on the side of the plane reads 1109, which they said was a mirror of 911, the date of the September 11 terror attacks.

Scenes of absolute desperation in #Kabul airport today: Afghan civilians chase & cling to US C-17 plane in last attempt to flee Afghanistan.

At least one body fell from aircraft wing, after a stampede by runway. Very dark moment for country:

— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) August 16, 2021

Outlandish claims have been made by the QAnon community since the conspiracy started to gain traction in 2017.

While the QAnon conspiracy community has splintered into new groups, many have continued to push narratives that were central to the online movement, including that President Joe Biden did not win the 2020 Presidential Election.

They also claim former President Donald Trump will return to the White House when election audits are completed and will show the election was somehow stolen, a position that has been widely discredited.

Many QAnon followers have downplayed the role of "Q" following the election of the inauguration of President Biden and after the account became dormant, having not posted since December 8.

QAnon-supporting lawyer even told a Missouri crowd in July that "it doesn't matter whether Q is true" and implored conspiracy theorists to continue to "connect the dots."

But, Newsweek has found dozens of accounts that continue to promote core beliefs of the group, including that a global cabal of celebrities, Democrats and media figures are involved in a child trafficking operation of global proportions.

The debunked theory also adopted anti-vaccination sentiments and its followers have been present at anti-lockdown demonstrations across the world.

Pentagon gives update on Afghanistan withdrawal
Taliban fighters patrol the streets of Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan's 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the group's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule. QAnon followers believe that the fall of Kabul was somehow a "distraction" from upcoming audit results in Arizona. AFP/Getty Images