Sunday, December 5, 2021

National Geographic’s “Afghan girl” has given security in Italy to escape the Taliban powers

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The famous green-eyed National Geographic “Afghan Girl”, Sharbat Gula, will now settle in Rome after the Italian government approves her application to flee her country

A refugee who became famous in National Geographic was given a safe haven from Italy just months after the Taliban recaptured their homeland.

Sharbat Gula, also known as the iconic green-eyed “Afghan girl,” first caught the world’s attention after being featured on the magazine’s cover in 1985.

Her fascinating eyes were captured by US war photographer Steve McCurry when she was just 12 years old and was living in a refugee camp in Pakistan during the Soviet-Afghan war.

On Thursday, the office of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi confirmed that the country arranged for 49-year-old Gula to travel to Italy as part of an evacuation effort for Afghan citizens wishing to flee.

His office said it would support their request for help leaving Afghanistan after receiving many requests from civil society and nonprofit organizations.

“The Presidency of the Council of Ministers made this possible by organizing their trip to Italy as part of the wider evacuation program for Afghan citizens and the government’s plan for their reception and integration,” his office said.

Gula, a widowed mother of four, was revealed after photographer McCurry returned to the area and tracked her down in 2002.

It was reported that she was arrested by Pakistani police in 2016 for allegedly holding a forged identity card, which she denied, reports the New York Post.

Shortly after her arrest, Gula was deported to Afghanistan, where she was greeted by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who kindly gave her the keys to her apartment.

Her arrival in Rome comes almost three months after the US completes its full troop withdrawal and initial efforts to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies from the country.

In the weeks leading up to the withdrawal period, the Taliban regained control of most of Afghanistan and Kabul.

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Italy claimed to have evacuated nearly 5,000 Afghans in August, possibly the most evacuated country in the EU.

When the Taliban last ruled the country between 1996 and 2001, they prevented women from working and girls from going to school.

Since taking over in August, the group has since announced that it will respect “women’s rights” and do things differently this time.

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