Afghan girl from the famous Nat Geo cover photo evacuated to Italy | Instant News

Rome — National Geographic magazine’s famous green-eyed “Afghan Girl” has arrived in Italy as part of the West’s evacuation of Afghans following the Taliban’s takeover of the country, the Italian government said Thursday.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s office said Italy arranged for the evacuation of Sharbat Gulla after he asked for help to leave the country. The Italian government will now help make it integrated into life in Italy, the statement said.

Gulla gained international fame in 1984 as an Afghan refugee girl, after war photographer Steve McCurry’s photo of her, with piercing green eyes, was published on the cover of National Geographic. McCurry found it again in 2002.

In 2014, he appeared in Pakistan but went into hiding when authorities accused him of buying a fake Pakistani identity card and ordered him to be deported. He was flown to Kabul where the president hosted a reception for him at the presidential palace and handed over the keys to his new apartment.

National Geographic's famous green eyes "Afghan girl" Sharbat Gulla poses for a photo during a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, at the Presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, on November 9, 2016.

Italy was one of several Western countries that flew hundreds of Afghans out of the country following the departure of US troops and the takeover of the Taliban in August.

In a statement announcing Gulla’s arrival in Rome, Draghi’s office said his photo came to “symbolize the changing and conflicting chapters in history that Afghanistan and its people were experiencing at that time.”

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