Afghan girl with famous cover portrait evacuates to Italy

Rome (AP) — National Geographic’s famous green-eyed “Afghan Girl” arrived in Italy as part of the evacuation of Afghanistan in the west following the Taliban’s takeover of the country, the Italian government said Thursday. rice field.

Mario Draghi’s office said Italy organized an evacuation of Sharbat Gala after asking her to help her leave the country. According to the statement, the Italian government will help her integrate into life in Italy.

Gala became internationally renowned as an Afghan refugee girl in 1984, and her photo with the sharp green eyes of post-war photographer Steve McCurry appeared on the cover of National Geographic. McCulley found her again in 2002.

In 2014, she emerged in Pakistan, but began to hide when authorities accused her of purchasing fake Pakistani ID and ordered deportation. She was sent to Kabul, where the president hosted a reception for her at the presidential palace and handed her keys to a new apartment.

Italy was one of several Western nations that airlifted hundreds of Afghanistan abroad following the departure of US troops and the takeover of the Taliban in August.

Draghi’s office said in a statement that Gala had arrived in Rome, her photographs “symbolized the transition and conflict of historical chapters that Afghanistan and its people were experiencing at the time. “.

It said it received a request from civil society people, especially non-profit organizations operating in Afghanistan, to support Gala’s plea for help leaving the country.

Italy planned a trip to Italy “as part of the government’s plans for a broader evacuation program in place for Afghan citizens and their acceptance and integration,” the statement said.