July 15, 2024

‘Afghan Girl’ From 1985 National Geographic Cover Takes Refuge in Italy

A 2002 National Geographic article about Mr. McCurry’s search for her described the adult Ms. Gula: “Time and hardship had erased her youth. Her skin looks like leather. The geometry of her jaw has softened. The eyes still glare; that has not softened.”

In 2016, Ms. Gula was deported from Pakistan after being arrested on charges of obtaining false identity documents, a common practice among Afghans in Pakistan. Human rights groups condemned the Pakistani government for sending her back to Afghanistan. On her arrival, the Afghan president at the time, Ashraf Ghani, gave her a warm welcome and provided her with a government-funded apartment.

In August, Taliban leaders moved into the presidential palace that had been occupied by Mr. Ghani. Their takeover once again displaced hundreds of thousands of Afghans. Pakistan braced for as many as 700,000 refugees.

In the United States, more than 22,500 Afghan refugees have been resettled as of Nov. 19, including 3,500 in one week in October. About 42,500 more remain in temporary housing on eight military bases around the country while they wait for housing.

Until the Taliban takeover, the rights of Afghan women had been expanding. Afghan girls were going to school and getting college degrees, and more were participating in civic life. But under the first few months of the Taliban’s conservative rule, women have already faced new restrictions, like not being allowed to play sports. The Taliban have severely restricted education for women, and Taliban gunmen have gone door-to-door in some neighborhoods looking for anyone who supported the American efforts in the country.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/26/world/europe/afghan-girl-national-geographic.html

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