National Geographic’s famous green-eyed “Afghan Girl” has arrived in Italy as part of the West’s evacuation of Afghans following the Taliban’s takeover of the country, the Italian government has said.
Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s office said Italy was organizing the evacuation of Sharbat Gula after she asked for help to leave the country. The Italian government will help get her integrated into life in Italy, the statement said on Thursday.
Gula 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 was in Pakistan but went into hiding when the 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 over her keys to a new apartment.
Italy was one of several Western countries that aired hundreds of Afghans out of the country after the departure of US forces and the Taliban’s takeover in August.