Days after a controversial departure from Pakistan, it emerged that National Geographic’s famous ‘Afghan Girl’ Sharbat Gula will be travelling to India for medical treatment.
Shaida Abdali, Afghanistan’s ambassador to India, announced on Twitter: “The Iconic Afghan Sharbat Gula will soon be in India for medical treatment free of cost.”
According to her lawyer, Gula, who’s in her 40s, suffers from Hepatitis C. She is now scheduled to travel to Bangalore to receive treatment, according to Afghan news agency Khaama Press.
Gula became known worldwide after her photograph appeared in the National Geographic Magazine.
She was deported from Pakistan to Afghanistan on Wednesday on charges of falsifying identity papers.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani last week personally welcomed her upon her arrival in Afghanistan , offering her a furnished apartment after she was deported.
“The woman who stands next to me became an iconic figure representing Afghan deprivation, Afghan hope and Afghan aspirations,” President Ghani said.
The portrait of Sharbat Gula, whose sea-green eyes and piercing gaze, made her an international symbol of refugees when it first appeared on the National Geographic magazine’s cover in 1985.
Photographer Steve McCurry had clicked her as a young girl living in the largest refugee camp in Pakistan, where almost three million Afghans sought shelter in the wake of the 1979 invasion by the Soviet Union.