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Will Pakistan Deport Iconic National Geographic 'Afghan Girl’?

  • Reuters

Policemen escort Sharbat Gula (in burqa), the green-eyed Afghan woman who became a symbol of her country's wars 30 years ago when her photo as a girl appeared on the cover of National Geographic magazine, as she arrives at a court in Peshawar, Pakistan, November 4, 2016.

Policemen escort Sharbat Gula (in burqa), the green-eyed Afghan woman who became a symbol of her country's wars 30 years ago when her photo as a girl appeared on the cover of National Geographic magazine, as she arrives at a court in Peshawar, Pakistan, November 4, 2016.

There are conflicting reports about whether authorities in Pakistan will deport the green-eyed woman globally known as the "Afghan Girl" for her appearance on a 1985 National Geographic cover.

A court in Peshawar, capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, found 46-year-old Sharbat Gula guilty of fraudulently obtaining a Pakistani citizenship identity and ordered authorities to deport her after she completes a 15-day jail sentence. She also was fined around $1,100.

Her deportation was expected on Monday. Some reports said it had been delayed for a few days. Others said her deportation had been halted while the federal government considered a request to grant her refugee status.

A spokesman for Afghan President Mohammed Ashraf Ghani said the Afghan leader was set to welcome Gula on her arrival back home, and to offer her help with resettlement.

Pakistan's Inam Khan, owner of a book shop shows a copy of a magazine with the photograph of Afghan refugee woman Sharbat Gulla, from his rare collection in Islamabad, Pakistan, Oct. 26, 2016.

Pakistan's Inam Khan, owner of a book shop shows a copy of a magazine with the photograph of Afghan refugee woman Sharbat Gulla, from his rare collection in Islamabad, Pakistan, Oct. 26, 2016.

Gula's striking green eyes in her famous 1985 National Geographic cover photo, published when she was 12, became a symbol of the turmoil facing Afghanistan at a time when millions of Afghans were forced to take refuge in neighboring Pakistan and Iran.

Photographer Steve McCurry, who took the original photo of Gula, found her again in 2002 in a remote Afghan village, and took her portrait again for another magazine cover.

Speaking to reporters on her hospital bed, the Afghan woman told reporters she has not been back to Afghanistan for 13 years.

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