McCurry, who photographed her in 1984, then began a search and, after several frustrated attempts, found her in Afghanistan 17 years later and confirmed her identity using an iris recognition technique.
Sharbat Gula, the “Afghan girl & rdquor; green-eyed whose iconic photo – covered by National Geographic in 1985 – became a symbol of the dramatic reality of refugees, is safe in Rome, as reported by the country’s presidency. Gluttony, who had asked for help after the fall of Afghanistan in the hands of the Taliban, it was evacuated on Thursday by the country’s authorities, the same sources added.
The woman, now 49 years old and who was welcomed in a protected refuge, arrived in the Italian capital in the framework of a evacuation program in which some NGOs present in Afghanistan collaborate and that Italy continues to keep active for people whose lives are in danger in the Asian country. So much so that the exact place to which Gula was transferred in Italy remains, for the moment, kept in secret, as well as information on whether their children were also evacuated from the Asian country.
Gula, known as Afghanistan’s ‘Mona Lisa’ and immortalized by photographer Steve McCurry – who found her in a refugee camp on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border – has since the 1980s personified the suffering and the dramatic conditions faced by those who are forced to flee their countries, as well as the tragedy of the Afghan country, rocked by armed violence and repeated conflicts since the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1979.
More recently, her story went around the world again when, in 2002, McCurry returned to the region and located it, discovering that Gula continued to have an extremely difficult life. However, after this episode, the woman disappeared again of the radars, until 2016, when the Pakistani authorities arrested her and accused her of having falsified documents and corrupted officials in her escape from Afghanistan, and to enter Pakistan.
With it, Gluttony was finally expelled from Pakistan and was forced to return to Afghanistan, raising the concern of several international organizations, including Amnesty International. “We can’t talk about Sharbat to keep her safe,” McCurry himself explained last September.
Italy has been one of the European countries that evacuated to more people from Afghanistan, almost 5,000, since the dramatic takeover of the Taliban last August, operations that have continued even after Western troops left the country. This is even more so after, despite the Taliban’s attempts to convey the image of a more moderate group than in the past, women in this country have once again been subjected to serious violations of their civil rights.