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18 June, 2024
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The face that became the symbol for refugees around the world

The 'Girl from Afghanistan' gets asylum in Italy

Kathimerini Greece Newsroom

She was a symbol for refugees and her face became one of the most powerful images in recent decades.  The "girl from Afghanistan", as she became known around the world when she appeared on the cover of National Geographic magazine in 1985, was granted asylum in Italy, following a decision by Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Sharbat Gula was a 12-year-old refugee from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border when she was photographed in 1984. A year later, the photo was published in National Geographic. It would become one of the strongest images of the '80s and' 90s ever to have been published.

Now in her forties, she has arrived in Rome.

A statement issued by Draghi's office said, "In 1985, thanks to a photograph by Steve McCurry, who photographed her at a very young age many years ago, Sharbat Gula became world-famous, to the point where she became a symbol of adversity and conflict in the passing phase of history in Afghanistan and its people."

"Responding to a request from Sharbat Gula to help her leave her country, especially after the Taliban takeover last August, the Prime Minister personally undertook and organized her transfer to Italy," the statement concluded.

In 2014, Gula was found living in Pakistan but hiding when authorities accused her of buying a fake Pakistani identity and ordered her deportation. From there, she flew to Kabul, where the president received her at a reception at the presidential palace and handed her the keys to a new home.

Cyprus  |  Afghanistan  |  refugee  |  migrants

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