Afghan girl in famous cover portrait evacuated to Italy – the Journal

National Geographic’s famous green-eyed “Afghan Girl” arrives in Italy as part of Western evacuation of Afghans following Taliban takeover

ROME (AP) – The famous green-eyed “Afghan Girl” from National Geographic magazine arrived in Italy as part of the evacuation of Afghans by the West following the takeover of the country by the Taliban, a the Italian government announced Thursday.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s office said Italy organized the evacuation of Sharbat Gulla after she asked for help to leave the country. The Italian government will now help his integration into life in Italy, according to the statement.

Gulla gained international fame in 1984 as an Afghan refugee, after a photograph of her by war photographer Steve McCurry, with piercing green eyes, was published on the cover of National Geographic. McCurry found her in 2002.

In 2014, she surfaced in Pakistan but went into hiding when authorities accused her of purchasing a fake Pakistani ID card and ordered her deportation. She was flown to Kabul where the president hosted a reception for her at the presidential palace and handed her the keys to a new apartment.

Italy was one of many Western countries that airlifted hundreds of Afghans out of the country after US forces left and the Taliban took control in August.

FILE – In this file photo taken on October 26, 2016, Pakistani bookstore owner Inam Khan shows a copy of a magazine with the photo of Afghan refugee Sharbat Gulla, from his rare collection in Islamabad, Pakistan. National Geographic’s famous green-eyed “Afghan Girl” arrived in Italy as part of the Western evacuation of Afghans following the Taliban takeover, the Italian government said Thursday. Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s office said Italy organized the evacuation of Sharbat Gulla after she asked for help to leave the country. The Italian government will now help him welcome and integrate him into life here, the statement said. (AP Photo / BK Bangash, File)

FILE – National Geographic’s famous green-eyed “Afghan Girl” Sharbat Gulla poses for a photo during a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan on November 9, 2016. Sharbat has arrived in Italy as part of the evacuation of Afghans by the West following the takeover of the country by the Taliban, the Italian government announced Thursday. Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s office said Italy organized the evacuation of Sharbat Gulla after she asked for help to leave the country. The Italian government will now help welcome him and integrate him into life here, the statement said. (AP Photo / Rahmat Gul)


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