Italy Takes in National Geographic’s Green-Eyed ‘Afghan Girl’

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Italy has given safe haven to the green-eyed “Afghan girl” Sharbat Gula, photographed in 1985 National Geographic has become a symbol of his country’s wars, Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s office said on Thursday.

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The government intervened after Gula sought help to leave Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover of the country in August, a statement said, adding that her arrival was a way to evacuate and integrate Afghan civilians. was part of a wider program.

American photographer Steve McCurry took the picture of Gula, who lives in a refugee camp on the Pakistan-Afghan border, when she was young.


Her staggering green eyes, peering from a scarf with a mix of cruelty and pain, made her internationally known, but her identity was only known in 2002 when McCurry returned to the area and tracked her down.

An FBI analyst, forensic sculptor and inventor of iris recognition all verified his identity, National Geographic said at that time.

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In 2016, Pakistan arrested Gula on charges of forging a national identity card in an attempt to stay in the country.

The then Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, welcomed her back and promised her an apartment to ensure that she “lives with honor and security in her homeland.”

Since seizing power, Taliban leaders have said they will respect women’s rights according to Sharia, or Islamic law. But under the Taliban regime from 1996 to 2001, women could not work and girls were banned from going to school. When leaving home, women had to cover their faces and be accompanied by a male relative.

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