Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
Afghan girl from famous cover portrait is evacuated to Italy
AP

Afghan girl from famous cover portrait is evacuated to Italy

  • Updated
  • 0
{{featured_button_text}}

ROME (AP) — National Geographic magazine’s famed green-eyed “Afghan Girl” has arrived in Italy as part of the West’s evacuation of Afghans following the Taliban takeover of the country, the Italian government said Thursday.

The office of Premier Mario Draghi said Italy organized the evacuation of Sharbat Gulla after she asked to be helped to leave the country. The Italian government will now help to get her integrated into life in Italy, the statement said.

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

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

Italy was one of several Western countries that airlifted hundreds of Afghans out of the country following the departure of U.S. forces and the Taliban takeover in August.

In a statement announcing Gulla’s arrival in Rome, Draghi’s office said her photograph had come to “symbolize the vicissitudes and conflict of the chapter in history that Afghanistan and its people were going through at the time.”

It said it had received requests “by those in civil society, and in particular by non-profit organizations working in Afghanistan” backing Gulla's plea for help to leave the country.

Italy organized her travel to Italy “as part of the wider evacuation program in place for Afghan citizens and the government’s plan for their reception and integration,” the statement said.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Stay up-to-date on what's happening

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

An informative and engaging — but largely speculative — account of the role of a mostly forgotten Native leader of the first Anglo-Indian Wars in Virginia. "A Brave and Cunning Prince: The Great Chief Opechancanough and the War for America" by James Horn; Basic Books (320 pages, $30) ——— In 1561, Spanish explorers abducted an Indian boy from his home in what is now coastal Virginia. They took ...

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

Weekend Things to Do

News Alert