Photo: ULRICH PERREY / DPA / AFP / Getty Images
Italy has given National Geographic’s iconic “Afghan girl” a haven Sure, a few months after the Taliban regained control of their homeland.
On Thursday, the office of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced that the country organized Sharbat Gula’s trip to Italy as part of its evacuation efforts for Afghan citizens seeking to leave the nation in conflict.
“In response to requests from members of civil society, and in particular non-profit organizations working in Afghanistan, which, after the events of last August, have supported Sharbat Gula in his request for help to leave their country, ”said Draghi’s office when announcing Gula’s arrival in Rome.
“The Presidency of the Council of Ministers has made it possible, organizing his trip to Italy as part of the broader evacuation program established for Afghan citizens and the Government’s plan for their reception and integration,” added Draghi’s office.
Gluttony first came to world attention in 1985 after being featured on the cover of a National Geographic magazine. His photo, best known for his striking green eyes, was taken by American war photographer Steve McCurry when he was in a refugee camp in northwestern Pakistan during the Soviet-Afghan war.
Her identity was revealed in 2002 when McCurry returned to the region and located her; Gula, now 49, was 12 when she was photographed by McCurry. She is currently a widow and mother of four children.
In 2016, Pakistani police arrested Gula for having a fake ID card, charges she denied. Shortly after being arrested, she was deported to Afghanistan, where she was warmly received by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who handed her the keys to an apartment.
Gula’s arrival in Italy comes nearly three months after the United States completed its total troop withdrawal and initial efforts to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies out of the country.
In the final weeks leading up to the withdrawal deadline, the Taliban seized control of much of Afghanistan and eventually Kabul, retaking control of the country.
In August, Italy claimed to have evacuated nearly 5,000 Afghans, reportedly the most evacuated by a European Union country.
During their previous rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban prevented women from working and prohibited girls from attending school.
Since taking control in August, the militant group has said it would respect “women’s rights,” including allowing women to attend school and work.
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