KABUL: Nat Geo’s famed ‘Afghan Girl’ Sharbat Gula on Wednesday said she kept her Afghan pride throughout the migration and never asked for help amid hard times and fame.
Gula, who was made famous by a National Geographic cover in 1985, arrived in Kabul from Pakistan through the Torkham border after completing a 14-day jail sentence she served in hospital in Peshawar where she was treated for Hepatitis C.
She had been arrested in Peshawar during a raid on her home and convicted of having fake ID papers. She had confessed to all charges against her.
On reaching Kabul, Sharbat Gula called on President Ghani at the Presidential Palace where the First Lady was present. Gula received the keys of an apartment from the president.
She thanked the president and the nation. “You and the world understand my story from childhood is a life full of sorrows. I was the portrait of my beloved country’s innocence and haplessness 30 years ago and am now 30 years later.”
She said her life was the story of an unending pain. “I was a child when orphaned, and then became a refugee. I was 13 when my picture in a ripped dress with my face and hands revealing my poverty became the world’s famous one, but I was unaware of it.”
“I grew up, married and became a mother but was still a refugee fighting with poverty. The world found me again and still showed interest in my picture and was unconcerned about my and children’s lives.”
She was young when she lost her husband to Hepatitis C at the age 37. The same disease claimed the life of her elder brother and a daughter.
“I am happy that despite all the troubles and fame in my life, I kept my Afghan pride alive and never begged someone for help,” said Sharbat Gula.
She also thanked Pakistan for hosting her and her family for 35 years. “I consider the memories of my last few weeks a situation that proved good for me and my children.” -Pajhwok
THE PASHTUN TIMES