It was claimed that a photo shared on social media shows Jamal Khashoggi as the man in blue suit who introduced Taliban group to the US President Ronald Reagan. Besides, it was stated that the photo was taken in 1985.
The relevant photo which was shared on Twitter on December 26, 2018 by the journalist Hüsnü Mahalli received approximately 500 likes. Some of the users asserted that the person in question was CIA agent Gust Avrakotos, not Jamal Khashoggi.
Nevertheless, the claim that the photo shows Jamal Khashoggi as the man in blue suit is false. The person in the photo dated 1983 which was taken in the Oval Office in the White House is a professor named Michael A. Barry who studied on the Middle East and history of Islam. Furthermore, Taliban was not founded yet when the photo was taken.
The person in the photo is Michael A. Barry who studied on the Middle East and history of Islam
The photo which was claimed to show Jamal Khashoggi can be seen on the website of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. It is explained next to the photo that Reagan discusses “atrocity of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan” with Afghan Freedom Fighters. However, detailed information about the guests was not given on the page.
A list on the web site of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum provides information regarding the guests hosted by the former US President in 1983. There are negative images of these visits as well.
The list contains several information about the relevant photo. According to that, the photos were taken in the Oval Office which is the working office space of the US presidents, on February 2, 1983. It is mentioned that the President Reagan and Michael Barry met with the group called “Afghan Freedom Fighters” in the photo. It is also stated that September 1982 massacre of the Soviet Union in which 105 Afghan villagers in Lowgar Region were killed was discussed.
In addition to such information, negative images of the other photos which were taken during the meeting and which shows Michael Barry can be found. A phrase “Afghan Witnesses” as well as the date 2 February 1983 can be seen on negative images of the photos.
Six items in the list indicate negative images of numerous photos taken in the meeting. It can be seen in the negative images no. 12820 that Barry and the Afghan group were together before the meeting at the Oval Office. Besides, it can be understood that they went to the Oval Office later and Barry introduced the Afghan group to Reagan.
Another significant point is that Taliban did not exist in 1983 when the relevant photo was taken. Likewise, the visitors are mentioned as “fighters of freedom” or “Afghan witnesses” in the records. 1994 is accepted as the foundation date of Taliban.
Michael A. Barry held many official talks in Afghanistan
An article titled “Report Soviets burned 105 Afghans” which was written on December 14, 1982 by Richard S Ehrlich can be found on the internet. According to the article, the reports about the burning of 105 Afghans was based on the investigation of a person named Michael Barry who can speak the local language of the region. Barry claimed that he interviewed with the eyewitnesses and took the photos of the massacre.
John Nelson made an interview about this issue with Michael Barry as well. Relationship of Barry with Afghanistan and his official talks were touched on the interview titled “A Journey to Afghanistan” which was published in 2009. Barry reported that he investigated human rights violations in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1984 with the International Federation of Human Rights.
Lastly, it was suggested in an article regarding the leaving of Professor Barry from Princeton University in 2016 that he brought the President Reagan and the Afghan witnesses together in the 1980’s.
After the controversies stirred by the photo, Barnett Rubin who is known to be an expert on Afghanistan and South Asia specified on Twitter that the person in question was Professor Bary. The photo was discussed in US before as well. It was reported in an article published on March 10, 2016 by the fact-checking website, Snopes that the relevant photo does not show Taliban.
Khashoggi has a photo taken with the Afghan mujahideens
A book titled “The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda’s Leader” written by Peter L. Bergen addresses a news article of Khashoggi dated May 4, 1988 about the Afghan mujahideens. The article can be found on website of the relevant newspaper. The photo of Khashoggi which was taken with the mujahideens and published in the news article of Majallah newspaper can be seen below.
In conclusion, the claim that the man in blue suit in the photo was Jamal Khashoggi is false. Moreover, it is clear that the photo was taken on February 2, 1983, not in 1985. Meanwhile, Taliban was founded in 1994.
Reagan Library, Photos of Oval Office
Reagan Library, List of Reagan’s guests in Oval Office in 1983
Reagan Library, Negative images of the photo no. 12818 taken during the visit, February 2, 1983
Reagan Library, Negative images of the photo no. 12819 taken during the visit, February 2, 1983
Reagan Library, Negative images of the photo no. 12821 taken during the visit, February 2, 1983
Reagan Library, Negative images of the photo no. 12820 taken during the visit, February 2, 1983
Reagan Library, Negative images of the photo no. 12822 taken during the visit, February 2, 1983
Aljazeera, Emergence and development of Taliban, January 18, 2014
Upi, Article about the burning of 105 Afghans, December 14, 1982
Nassau Weekly, A Journey to Afghanistan, October 22, 2009
Whyy.org, An article about the leaving of Michael Barry from Princeton University, March 14, 2016
Twitter, Tweet of Barnett Rubin regarding the subject, October 12, 2018
Snopes, The photo does not show Ronald Reagan with Taliban leaders, March 10, 2016
Peter L. Bergen, The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader, 2006
Alarab, About the news article of Jamal Khashoggi on mujahideens, October 14, 2018