FACT CHECK: No, Ronald Reagan Did Not Meet With The Taliban In The Oval Office
An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows then-President Ronald Reagan meeting with Taliban leaders in the Oval Office.
The photo actually shows Reagan meeting with Afghan mujahedeen in 1983, approximately a decade before the Taliban formed.
This image, which has been circulating on social media since at least 2016, was shared on Facebook after President Donald Trump announced that he had called off talks with Taliban leaders just days before the 18th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Reagan sits in the Oval Office with a group of men wearing turbans in the picture. “NeverTrumpers: A President meeting with the Taliban,” reads the caption. “This is horrific!”
However, a reverse image search reveals that the photograph does not depict Reagan meeting with the Taliban. The picture, which the Daily Caller found on the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library website, actually shows the president meeting with “Afghan Freedom Fighters” to discuss “Soviet atrocities in Afghanistan,” according to its caption.
The men, also referred to as mujahedeen, were Islamic guerrilla fighters who opposed the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan during the 70s and 80s. The Reagan administration provided funds to aid their resistance efforts.
Adding even more to the Facebook post’s dubiousness, the photograph was taken in 1983, according to its caption, so it is impossible for the men who met with Reagan to be Taliban members. The Taliban didn’t emerge until the mid-90s, roughly a decade after the picture was taken.