Sharbat Gula obtained asylum from the Italian government after the Taliban again assumed power in Afghanistan.
Italy has sheltered a green-eyed "Afghan girl" named Sherbat Gul, whose 1985 National Geographic image became a symbol of her country's wars, Prime Minister Mario Draghi's office said Thursday. According to a statement, the government intervened afterGula asked for help to leave Afghanistan after the conquest of the country by the Taliban in August, adding that his arrival is part of a more extensive program to evacuate and integrate Afghan citizens.
The Italian government reported that the famous "Afghan girl" arrived in Italy as part of the West's evacuation of Afghans following the Taliban's takeover of the country. The prime minister's office said her country organized Gulla's evacuation after asking for help leaving the country. The Italian government will now help her integrate into life in Italy, according to the statement.
American photographer Steve McCurry took the image of Gluttony when she was a child living in a refugee camp on the Pakistan - Afghanistan border.
Her striking green eyes, which stood out in a face framed by a headscarf with a mixture of ferocity and pain, made her famous internationally. Still, her identity was only discovered in 2002 when McCurry returned to the region and located her.
An FBI analyst, a forensic specialist, and the inventor of iris recognition verified his identity, National Geographic said at the time.
Italy was one of several Western countries that evacuated hundreds of Afghans after US troops withdrew in August and the Taliban seized power. In a statement announcing Gulla's arrival in Rome, Draghi's office said his portrait "symbolizes the ups and downs of the chapter of history and the conflict that Afghanistan and its people were going through at the time."
He said he had received requests" from those who are part of civil society and, particularly from non-profit organizations working in Afghanistan," supporting Gulla's plea to help to leave the country.
Italy organized its trip to Italy" as part of the broader evacuation program for Afghan citizens and the government's plan for their reception and integration," according to the statement.
In 2016, Pakistan arrested Gula for forging a national identity card in an attempt to enter the country to live. At that time, the human rights NGO Amnesty International (AI) condemned their expulsion and described it as a "grave injustice."
Then-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani welcomed him and promised him an apartment to ensure he "lives with dignity and safety in his homeland ."
Since taking power, Taliban leaders have said they would respect women's rights by Islamic law. However, from 1996 to 2001, women could not work, and girls could not go to school under the Taliban government. In addition, women had to cover their faces and accompany a male relative when leaving home.