Afghan ‘green-eyed girl’ gets asylum in Italy

It was a picture that impressed worldwide: the portrait on the cover of National Geographic in 1985 of an Afghan girl with a penetrating look, her bright green eyes full of a mixture of combative spirit and fear. Photographer Steven McCurry made the record in a refugee camp on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan and initially did not know who she was. It wasnt until 2002 that he managed to track her down and find out her identity.

Sharbat Gula, as she turned out to be called, is now getting asylum in Italy. She had asked that country to help her get away from Afghanistan and is given the opportunity to build a new life, says in a statement by Palazzo Chigi, Prime Minister Draghis office home.

Gula has already had more wanderings. In 2014, she appeared to be in Pakistan, but she went under that when her arrest was ordered for allegedly having a false ID.

International celebrity

She was eventually able to return to Kabul, where she was welcomed with open arms as an international celebrity by then President Ghani. He offered her an apartment and a โ€œdignified and safe life in her homelandโ€, as it was formulated somewhat solemnly.

But she apparently has no confidence in that after the Talibans takeover of power. Italy says it was brought to the country as part of a broader evacuation program for Afghans.