Afghan woman, once a 12-year-old green-eyed girl celebrated on National
Geographic magazine’s cover in 1985, has been arrested in Pakistan for
fraudulent identity papers.
Gula could be fined and could possibly face up to 14 years in prison.
officials said she was detained by Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency
after a two-year enquiry close to the Afghan border in Peshawar.
started a ban on fake IDs.
applied for an identity card with the name Sharbat Bibi two years ago.
Database Registration Authority official said the FIA was looking for three
staff members who have disappeared since the fraud was reported. They issued ID
cards to Gula and to two men who are allegedly her sons.
may not be her sons,” a NADRA source told Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper. “But, this
is a common practice among Afghan refugees whereby they list names of
non-relatives as their children to obtain documents.”
Photographer Steve McCurry took the
“Afghan girl” photo of Gula in 1984 in a refugee camp in north-west
Pakistan, which was known as the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan at the time.
It became one of the most distinguished magazine covers ever published.
McCurry tracked Gula down after 17 years of
searching. He found her in an isolated Afghan village with her husband and
“Two hours ago, I
got word from a friend in Peshawar, Pakistan, that Sharbat Gula has been
arrested,” McCurry wrote on Instagram. “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.”