Italy welcomes National Geographic ‘Afghan Girl’ with green eyes

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ROME – Italy has given refuge to Sharbat Gula, the green-eyed “Afghan girl” whose 1985 National Geographic photo has become a symbol of her country’s wars, Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s office said Thursday.

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The government intervened after Gula asked for help to leave Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of the country in August, a statement said, adding that his arrival was part of a larger evacuation program. and integration of Afghan citizens.

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

His striking green eyes, coming out of a scarf with a mixture of ferocity and pain, made him known internationally, but his identity was not discovered until 2002, when McCurry returned to the area. and found it.

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

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In 2016, Pakistan arrested Gula for forging a national identity card in order to live in the country.

The then Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, welcomed her again and promised to give her an apartment so that she “can live in dignity and security in her homeland”.

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

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