Woman in Iconic ‘Afghan Girl’ Photo Deported Back to Afghanistan

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani with Sharbat Gula (center) at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on Wednesday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani with Sharbat Gula (center) at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on Wednesday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)

The green-eyed Afghan woman who famously appeared on the cover of National Geographic is back in her native country after being deported from Pakistan, where she had resided for more than three decades.

Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, welcomed the return of Sharbat Gula at a ceremony held at the presidential palace in Kabul on Wednesday.

The memorable cover photo depicting Gula, at about 12 years old, was taken at a refugee camp in Pakistan in 1984. As NPR’s Philip Reeves has reported, Gula has spent most of her life outside Afghanistan after her parents were killed in a Soviet airstrike.

Now in her 40s, Gula has been the subject of a case dating to February 2015 over identity documents. Pakistani officials said Gula had lied about being born there to get Computerized National Identity Cards for herself and two men who said they were her sons. Earlier this month, a court found her guilty of having illegally obtained a Pakistani identity card.

Gula was handed off at the border along with her four children, according to the BBC. But, as The Two-Way has reported, that was after she was detained and sentenced to a 15-day jail term and $1,100 fine.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: NPR, Rebecca Hersher