Sharbat Gula, Steve McCurry’s Afghan girlfriend, is safe in Rome

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He was under 12 when Steve McCurry took the photo of her that became the symbol of a nation. The Afghan girl from that shot on the cover of the National Geographic in 1985 she is a woman with the same gaze, but the face marked by time and by the vicissitudes of one of the most tortured states on Earth. This woman is now a Roma. This was announced by the Presidency of the Council.

«The Afghan citizen has arrived in Rome», says the government communiqué Sharbat Gula. In 1985, thanks to the photograph by Steve McCurry, who the previous year had portrayed her at a very young age in a refugee camp in Peshawar for the cover of National Geographic Magazine, Sharbat Gula acquired planetary notoriety, to the point of symbolizing the vicissitudes and conflicts of the historical phase that Afghanistan and its people were going through ».

It was she herself who had launched an appeal to leave the country. “Responding to the requests of those in civil society and in particular among the non-profit organizations active in Afghanistan have collected, after the events of last August, Sharbat Gula’s appeal to be helped to leave her country, the Presidency of the Council has propitiated and organized their transfer to Italy, in the broader context of the program for the evacuation of Afghan citizens and the government’s plan for their reception and integration ».

There is now a place for her in one of the projects of hospitality, after a life spent on the run. The photograph that made her famous around the world was taken in a refugee camp in Peshawar in 1984. She had fled 5 years earlier after the Soviet invasion with her grandmother, brother and sisters. Both parents died. His name was not known at first, only ethnicity pashtun, for this reason the photo is known as “Afghan girl”.

The photographer returned to look for her in 2002 starting from the field where he had met her and then finding her in a region of Afghanistan, married (just 13 years old) and with three daughters. McCurry said: “There was no doubt in my mind that this was the girl I had taken back years ago. His eyes were the same, he had the same distinctive scar on his nose. All the features of the face corresponded ».

However, the tragic events of the woman were not over. She was arrested in 2016 for asking for a fake ID card. She had claimed to be born in Pakistan, but was repatriated to Afghanistan welcomed by then President Ashraf Ghani, who gave her the keys to an apartment in Acceptance. The return of the Taliban he did resume his escape. She has always lived trying to get away from that country of which she is a symbol for the West, but which does not allow her life and freedom as a woman.

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