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Nat Geo's 'Afghan Girl' Evacuated to Italy After Pleas To Save Her From Taliban

Sharbat Gula, a Pashtun, was a student at a school in a refugee camp in Pakistan when the picture was taken.

Published
World
2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Sharbat Gula, also known as the Afghan Girl.</p></div>
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Sharbat Gula, the green-eyed Afghan woman who became world famous in 1985 after appearing on the cover of National Geographic, has reached Rome as part of an evacuation programme, the Italian government confirmed on Thursday, 25 November, Associated Press reported.

"Afghan citizen Sharbat Gula has arrived in Rome," the government statement stated.

Gula, a Pashtun child, who was a student at an informal school in Nasir Bagh refugee camp in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, had her picture taken by United States (US) photographer Steve McCurry, a photograph that became a symbol of Afghanistan to the rest of the world.

Gula first arrived in Pakistan as an orphan, a few years after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 but was deported back to her country in 2016 after she was arrested for residing in Pakistan illegally.
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In an interview with the BBC, Gula blamed her world-famous photo for her arrest and detention.

"The photo created more problems than benefits. It made me famous but also led to my imprisonment."

After her deportation, Gula and her children were welcomed and financially supported by the US-backed Ashraf Ghani government, and were also provided with a house, according to National Geographic.

After the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August this year, Italy was one of the several nations that evacuated hundred of Afghans.

Rome stated that due to the numerous pleas to rescue Gula, the government had organised "for her to travel to Italy as part of the wider evacuation programme in place for Afghan citizens and the government's plan for their reception and integration."

(With inputs from BBC, National Geographic, and AP.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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