National Geographic's Afghan Girl Arrested Over False Papers

BY Harper's Bazaar Arabia / Oct 28 2016 / 23:21 PM

​Steve McCurry, who took the famed photograph, has pledged to help her

National Geographic's Afghan Girl Arrested Over False Papers

Sharbat Gula, who famously made the cover of National Geographic as the green-eyed Afghan Girl, has been arrested for living illegally in Pakistan under false papers.

The Guardian reports that the arrest happened on Wednesday after a long investigation. Gula could face up to 14 years in prison and a fine of Dhs18,500 if convicted. Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency is also searching for the three Nada officers who allegedly gave her the ID card in April 2014.

Steve McCurry photographed Gula when she was 12 years old and living in a refugee camp in Pakistan in 1984, during the Soviet occupation. It became one of the most famous covers that the magazine ever printed.

After the conflict between mujahideen insurgents and the Soviets, many decided not to return to return and established themselves in Pakistan. There are now 2.5 million Afghan refugees living in the country, and politicians have begun to blame the Afghan community for crime and terrorism – often with no evidence.

In 2014, a national action plan was implemented aiming to repatriate all Afghan refugees, following the massacre by Pakistani Taliban gunmen of more than 130 schoolboys in Peshawar.

Photographer McCurry has pledged to help Gula, asserting on Instagram that the arrest was "an egregious violation of her human rights".

"We are doing everything we can to get the facts by contacting our colleagues and friends in the area," he said. "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."

Via Harper's Bazaar UK