Deported from Pakistan, Kabul embraces Afghan Mona Lisa

Afghan president welcomes home woman whose photograph made her an icon of the Afghan refugee crisis

Deported from Pakistan, Kabul embraces Afghan Mona Lisa

World Bulletin / News Desk

 Deported after decades living in Pakistan, the Afghan woman whose striking teenaged portrait became an icon of the Afghan refugee crisis was welcomed to the Afghan capital Kabul on Wednesday. 

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani presented Sharbat Gula, 45, with a key for her own home at a ceremony held in Kabul after her release from a prison in Pakistan for holding falsified documents. 

American photographer Steve McCurry's 1985 portrait of a young Gula became one of National Geographic's most iconic covers because of her green eyes and intense stare into the camera. 

Her lawyer Nesar Dawar told Anadolu Agency that there were "political intentions" behind the way she was treated after being arrested.

“We have come across thousands of such cases during which Afghan refugees are simply deprived of the [Pakistani identity] card and are deported to Afghanistan but Sharbat Gula was persecuted and put in prison for more than two weeks and made to pay fine of 110,000 Pakistani rupees [$1,000]”, he said.

Ghani and his wife warmly welcomed Gula at the ceremony, calling her a symbol of the country's suffering and promising to establish a fund in her name for the country's needy. 

Gula's family were from the Pacher Aw Gaam district in eastern Afghanistan, where hundreds of families have recently had to flee their homes because of militants who claim loyalty to the Syria-based terrorist group Daesh. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Kasım 2016, 19:49