Afghanistan news: Why were the clocks wrong in Biden’s situation room?

A three-hour time difference between London and Moscow in situation room prompted a flurry of internet theories

Bevan Hurley
New York
Monday 16 August 2021 17:31
<p>A photo showing Joe Biden meeting with his national security team sparked theories about why the clocks were wrong.</p>

A photo showing Joe Biden meeting with his national security team sparked theories about why the clocks were wrong.

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A photo of President Joe Biden’s situation room showed the wrong times for London and Moscow, setting off a flurry of online theories.

The White House released a photo of Mr Biden meeting virtually with his top national security advisers to discuss the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.

The world clocks showed the time in London as 16.29, and Moscow three hours behind at 19.29.

The clocks showed a three-hour time difference between Moscow and London

The time difference between the cities has been three hours since the United Kingdom put its clocks forward in March.

Boris Epshteyn, a former adviser to Donald Trump’s 2020 election campaign, was among the first to notice the faulty time difference.

“Real question. Why is Moscow time wrong in this photo? Time difference between London and Moscow is only 2 hours, it hasn’t been 3 hours since March,” Mr Ephsteyn wrote on Twitter.

Twitter users quickly weighed in with conspiracy theories about whether the photo was staged, or if the photo was taken before March in order to maintain security.

“Everyone has a clock that never gets reset when daylight saving changes, looks like the WH is the same,” one wrote.

Another said it was “tradecraft” to protect the identity of officers deployed in the US’s Middle East command centre in Doha.

“Use old photos to avoid blowing the *current*, eg, Doha team’s cover. What sort of incompetents do you take them for?”

The most plausible explanation seemed to be that the military and Nato set their clocks to a time zone system called Zulu, which doesn’t change for daylight savings.

“Military time is based on Zulu UTC, or a universal standard, in which the difference between London and Moscow is always 3 hours.”

The real reason why the clocks were out?

Afghanistan has been plunged into chaos in recent days as the US withdrew after a 20-year occupation, with a resurgent Taliban taking over every major city including Kabul in just a few days.

On Sunday, the Taliban took control of the presidential palace in Kabul and assumed control of the Afghan capital.

American diplomats have been evacuated from their embassy by helicopter to the airport while thousands of people rushed to the airport, desperate to leave the country.

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