Woman In Iconic ‘Afghan Girl’ Photo Goes From Nat Geo Cover To Police Mugshot

You may remember the haunting picture of an Afghan girl with startling green eyes on the cover of National Geographic about 30 years ago. If you’ve ever wondered what happened to her, this article will satisfy your curiosity. 

Three decades ago a photographer took a picture of a young Afghan girl with piercing green eyes in a refugee camp. The iconic picture was used on the cover of National Geographic magazine and the “Afghan girl” became the face of the Afghan war. Sharbat Gula is the “Afghan girl”. The picture was taken after she fled the war in Afghanistan when she was 12 years old.

But now Gula will be forced to return to Afghanistan after a Pakistani court ordered her to be deported. The illiterate mother-of-four had been living in Pakistan with fraudulent identity documents. Gula and her four children will be taken back to Afghanistan where they face an uncertain future.

'Afghan girl' Sharbat Gula who was immortalised on a National Geographic cover donned a burka as a Pakistani court today ordered her deportation back to her war-torn homeland
‘Afghan girl’ Sharbat Gula who was immortalised on a National Geographic cover donned a burka as a Pakistani court today ordered her deportation back to her war-torn homeland

Mubashar Nazar, Sharbat’s lawyer told AFP that she has already spent eleven days in prison, which means she could be released as early as Monday:

“We had requested the court to release her on humanitarian grounds.”

An Afghan consulate official says that the fine imposed on her at the Peshawar court has already been paid and confirms she would be freed Monday:

“We… will take her to Afghanistan in an honourable way on Monday.”

She became the face of the Afghan war after her piercing green eyes were captured in an iconic photograph which was used on the National Geographic front cover
She became the face of the Afghan war after her piercing green eyes were captured in an iconic photograph which was used on the National Geographic front cover
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Gula was arrested 10 days ago and accused of living in Pakistan on fraudulent identity papers following a two-year investigation
She was wearing a full beige burka - which completely covered her blazing eyes - when a Pakistani court today ordered that she be deported
She was wearing a full beige burka – which completely covered her blazing eyes – when a Pakistani court today ordered that she be deported
Police could be seen escorting Gula after the hearing at the court in Peshawar, Pakistan, today
Police could be seen escorting Gula after the hearing at the court in Peshawar, Pakistan, today
The illiterate mother-of-four, now aged in her 40s, pleaded guilty on Friday and the court sentenced her to 15 days in jail and a 110,000 Pakistani rupee (£841) fine
The illiterate mother-of-four, now aged in her 40s, pleaded guilty on Friday and the court sentenced her to 15 days in jail and a 110,000 Pakistani rupee (£841) fine
An Afghan consulate official said that the fine imposed on Gula at the Peshawar court has already been paid and confirmed she would be released Monday
An Afghan consulate official said that the fine imposed on Gula at the Peshawar court has already been paid and confirmed she would be released Monday
After a 17-year search, the photographer Steve McCurry tracked Gula down to a remote Afghan village in 2002
After a 17-year search, the photographer Steve McCurry tracked Gula down to a remote Afghan village in 2002

Read More: Afghan ‘girl with the green eyes’ from iconic National Geographic cover dons full burka as Pakistani court orders her deportation back to the war-torn homeland she fled aged 12