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NatGeo green-eyed woman Sharbat Gula gets a home.

The famous green-eyed, also known as "Afghan girl", returns to Afghanistan after living for decades in Pakistan as a refugee.She became an icon when her picture, photographed by Steve McCurry, appeared as the cover of National Geographic magazine as a 12-years old child back in June 1985 in the midst of the Soviet invasion.

Gula's homecoming was marked by her rapturous welcome by the Afghan government which announced to give her a house in Kabul along with a stipend of about $700 per month which would cover her daily expenses as well as her expenses for the medical treatment. The announcement was made by the spokesperson for Afghanistan's Ministry for Communication Najeeb Nangyal.

She received the keys to the new home in a ceremony hosted for her by the Afghan government officials last month. She can be seen with her family, government officials and media personnel.

After this fame, she had become the front face of the plight of millions of Afghan refugees striving in a foreign country in order to escape the agony and hardship that they had to face after and during the Afghan War.She was the subject of the documentary film titled Search for Afghan Girl, which was released in 2003.Gula, who is now 45 years of age, is suffering from hepatitis C, which also became the cause of her husband's life some years ago.

She had four daughters, of which one died in infancy. She wishes a better future for her children after returning to Afghanistan.

"Afghanistan is only my birthplace, but Pakistan was my homeland and I always considered it as my own country," she told a foreign news agency before leaving. "I am dejected.

I have no other option but to leave.", she concluded.

However, Ashraf Ghani greeted Gula and said, I've said repeatedly, and I like to repeat it again, that our country is incomplete until we absorb all of our refugees."Deportation from PakistanGula was arrested in late 2016 when she was found to be using a forged Pakistani National Identity Card (NIC) in an attempt to attain a legal status here in Pakistan.

She faced up to 14 years of imprisonment and a fine of about Rs500,000.However, after being kept in custody for two weeks, she was released and deported to Afghanistan subsequently.The deportation of Afghan refugees started in 2014 Army Public School attack in 2014. According to an estimate, about 365,000 refugees were sent back to Afghanistan in the latter half of 2016.

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Publication:Pakistan Today (Lahore, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Dec 16, 2017
Words:477
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