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Statement regarding news about Sharbat Gula, Afghan Girl

October 26, 2016

November 10, 2016:


Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, has welcomed back Sharbat Gula. Pakistani security officials escorted Gula overnight from a hospital in Peshawar, where she had been staying since her arrest last month for living illegally in the country, and handed her over to Afghan authorities at the Torkham border.

Gula’s deportation comes amid Pakistani pressure to send 2.5 million Afghan refugees back home even though Afghanistan is facing a bloody Taliban insurgency and would struggle to look after so many returnees. “I welcome her back to the bosom of her motherland,” Ghani said as an expressionless Gula stood beside him during a small ceremony at the palace in Kabul. “I’ve said repeatedly, and I like to repeat it again, that our country is incomplete until we absorb all of our refugees.” Ghani promised to provide Gula with a furnished apartment to ensure she “lives with dignity and security in her homeland”. Text quoted from The Guardian: https://goo.gl/rfFhhT

November 6, 2016:


With utmost delight, I announce that Sharbat Gula is now free from the legal troubles she endured over the past couple of weeks. She soon will also be free from an uncertain life of a refugee as she will be on her way back to her own country as soon as next Monday where she still is a beloved image and a national icon. She will be met by President Ashraf Ghani upon her arrival to welcome her back home and help her with her resettlement.
I take this opportunity to thank all those who voiced their support and sympathy to the case of Sharbat Gula. This includes prominent as well as ordinary people within the Government, civil society, Peshawar Court and FIA office, media and the public in large. You all played a significant role resulting in today’s good news.

– Dr. Omar Zakhilwal, Afghanistan Ambassador to Pakistan

October 28, 2016:


We are happy to announce that the Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan has taken an interest in Sharbat Gula’s case, and has issued a statement available here:

We anticipate that her release will occur early next week. THANK YOU to all of you who have raised your voices in support of this wonderful woman, Sharbat Gula, who has been through so much including the bombings which killed her parents, life in a refugee camp, the loss of her beloved husband, and the death of her wonderful daughter.

– Steve McCurry

October 26, 2016:

We were very saddened to hear this morning’s news about Sharbat Gula’s arrest in Pakistan.

Steve McCurry, the internationally renowned photographer who first caught Sharbat Gula’s haunting green eyes in 1984, has issued the following statement:

Two hours ago, I got word from a friend in Peshawar, Pakistan, that Sharbat Gula has been arrested.
We are doing everything we can to get the facts by contacting our colleagues and friends in the area.
I am committed to doing anything and everything possible to provide legal and financial support for her and her family.
I object to this action by the authorities in the strongest possible terms. She has suffered throughout her entire life, and her arrest is an egregious violation of her human rights.

– Steve McCurry

Unguarded, Untold, Iconic: Afghanistan through the Lens of Steve McCurry was on view from July 16 through October 23, 2016.


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