Sharbat Gula, the owner of a world-famous face because 30 years ago she was the cover of an issue of National Geographic magazine that recounted the drama of the refugees, arrived in Rome today after being evacuated from Afghanistan due to the return of the Taliban to power.
That girl with green eyes with her head covered “has just arrived in Rome,” the government headquarters announced in a statement, which recalled that Sharbat was photographed at the age of 12, at the end of 1984, in a refugee camp in Pakistan. which made it a global symbol of suffering and political and social instability in that region.
Sharbat Gula asked to leave his country after the Taliban seized power in August and the Italian government “facilitated and organized” his transfer to that country, as part of the program for the evacuation of Afghan citizens and the plan for their reception and integration. explains the statement, quoted by the AFP news agency.
That photo “came to symbolize the vicissitudes and conflicts of that historical stage that Afghanistan and its people were going through,” wrote the press office of Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
Sharbat Gula arrived in Pakistan as an orphan four to five years after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 along with the thousands of Afghans fleeing combat zones on the border.
Her image went around the world again when photographer Steve McCurry looked for it again in 2002 and found out the difficult life she continued to have, so he proposed her again as the protagonist of the cover of National Geographic.
Illiterate and a mother of four children, Sharbat was unaware that millions of people had seen her photo, nor that her image had sparked an international mobilization in favor of refugees.
In 2016, she had been sent to Afghanistan, despite the fact that she did not want to return, because she considered her country unsafe.