NEW DELHI: Afghan woman Sharbat Gula who was deported from Pakistan will be travelling to India for medical treatment.
Afghanistan’s ambassador to India Shaida Abdali said on Twitter, “The Iconic Afghan Sharbat Gula will soon be in India for medical treatment free of cost.”
The Afghan woman immortalised on a National Geographic cover is suffering with Hepatitis C. She was deported by Pakistani officials early Wednesday to her war-torn homeland following a brief period of detention for using fraudulent identity papers.
Gula, whose blazing green eyes were captured in an image taken in a Pakistan refugee camp in the 1980s that became the magazine’s most famous cover, was discharged from hospital where she was being treated for Hepatitis C and taken to the border overnight, officials said.
Gula said she first arrived in Pakistan an orphan, some four or five years after the Soviet invasion of 1979, one of millions of Afghans who have sought refuge over the border since.
Since July hundreds of thousands have returned to Afghanistan in a desperate exodus amid fears of a crackdown, ahead of a March 2017 deadline for the final return of all Afghan refugees.
Last month UNHCR said more than 350,000 Afghan refugees — documented and undocumented — had returned from Pakistan so far in 2016, adding it expects a further 450,000 to do so by the year’s end.