World 'Afghan Girl' from National Geographic magazine cover granted refugee status in Italy
Thousands of Afghans seek temporary US entry, few approved
LOWELL, Mass. (AP) — More than 28,000 Afghans have applied for temporary admission into the U.S. for humanitarian reasons since shortly before the Taliban recaptured Afghanistan and sparked a chaotic U.S. withdrawal, but only about 100 of them have been approved, according to federal officials. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has struggled to keep up with the surge in applicants to a little-used program known as humanitarian parole but promises it's ramping up staff to address the growing backlog. Afghan families in the U.S.
The "" made famous after featuring on the cover of National Geographic magazine in 1985 has been granted refugee status by Italy's Prime Minister , according to an Italian government press office statement.
The striking portrait of then 12-year-old Sharbat Gula, a Pashtun orphan in a refugee camp on the Afghan-Pakistan border, was taken in 1984 and published the next year. Gula was tracked down decades later living in Pakistan, after no one knew her name for years.
The US was doomed in Afghanistan and will repeat mistakes if it doesn't learn from them, top watchdog warns
"Don't believe what you're told by the generals or people in the administration saying we're never going to do this again," John Sopko said Thursday.John Sopko, who has been the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction since July 2012, told reporters at a Defense Writers Group event that the US repeatedly "moved the goalposts" for success in Afghanistan and "kicked the can down the road" in the face of obstacles or failures.
Now in her late forties, Gula has arrived in Rome, according to the Italian Prime Minister's Office.
"In 1985, thanks to the photography of Steve McCurry, who the previous year had portrayed her very young in a refugee camp in Peshawar for the cover of National Geographic Magazine, Sharbat Gula acquired global notoriety, to the point of symbolizing the vicissitudes and conflicts of the phase history that Afghanistan and its people were going through," reads a statement released by Draghi's office.
"Responding to the requests of those in civil society and in particular among the non-profit organizations active in Afghanistan which, after the events of last August, received Sharbat Gula's appeal to be helped in leaving their country, the Prime Minister took it upon himself and organized her transfer to Italy within the broader context of the program for the evacuation of Afghan citizens and the government's plan for their reception and integration," the statement continues.
Afghan girl from famous National Geographic cover is evacuated to Italy
ROME (AP) — National Geographic's famed green-eyed “Afghan Girl” has arrived in Italy as part of the West’s evacuation of Afghans following the Taliban takeover of the country, the Italian government said Thursday. The office of Premier Mario Draghi said Italy had organized the evacuation of Sharbat Gulla after she asked to be helped to leave the country. The Italian government will now help to welcome her and get her integrated into life here, the statement said.(AP Photo/B.K. Bangash, File) B.K.
CNN has asked the Italian government if Gula's family was also granted refugee status, but has not yet heard back.
In 2016 McCurry told CNN the story behind the photograph.
"I knew she had an incredible look, a penetrating gaze," he said. "But there was a crowd of people around us, the dust was swirling around, and it was before digital cameras and you never knew what would happen with the film."
McCurry said he knew the picture was special when he developed it.
"I showed it to the editor of the National Geographic, and he leaped to his feet and shouted, 'that's our next cover'," he added.
Migrant crisis front and center in pope's Greece-Cyprus trip .
LESBOS, Greece (AP) — When Pope Francis visited the Greek island of Lesbos in 2016, he was so moved by the stories he heard from families fleeing war in Iraq and Syria that he wept and brought a dozen refugees home with him. Speaking to reporters on the way home that day, he held up a drawing handed to him by a child from the island’s sprawling refugee camp. “Look at this one,” he said, revealing a bird neatly decorated in colored pencil, the word “peace” scrolled in English underneath it. “That’s what children want: Peace.