Italy gives safe haven to Sharbat Gula, the green-eyed National Geographic “Afghan Girl”

Nov 26, 2021: Italy has given safe haven to the green-eyed “Afghan girl” Sharbat Gullah, whose 1985 portrait in National Geographic became a symbol of her country’s wars, Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s office said on Thursday.

The government intervened after Gulla sought help to leave Afghanistan after the Taliban took over the country in August, a statement said, adding that her arrival would help evacuate and integrate Afghan citizens as part of the broader program.

Gullah was photographed by American photographer Steve McCerry when she was a child living in a refugee camp on the Pakistan-Afghan border.

Her startling green eyes, peering out from a headscarf with a mixture of ferocity and pain, made her know internationally but her identity was only discovered in 2002 when McCurry returned to the region and tracked her down.

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

The then Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, welcomed her back and promised to give her an apartment to ensure she “lives with dignity and security in her homeland”.

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