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The Italian Prime Minister’s Office has confirmed that Sharbat Gula has arrived in Rome and has been granted refugee status in the country.

Gula became famous when a photograph of her was used on the cover of the National Geographic Magazine in 1985.

The photograph was titled “Afghan Girl” and was taken by Steve McCurry. It shows a then 12-year-old Gula, a Pashtun orphan in a refugee camp on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

CNN reports that Gula was tracked down decades later living in Pakistan after no one knew her name for years. Now in her late fourties, Gula was granted refugee status in Italy.

A statement released by the Italian Prime Minister’s Office said that “the Prime Minister took it upon himself and organised her transfer to Italy within the broader context of the program for the evacuation of Afghan citizens and the government’s plan for their reception and integration”.

It's not clear whether Gula’s entire family has been granted refugee status.

Image credit: PiPa News

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