Afghan president on Wednesday welcomed back Sharbat Gula, the green-eyed woman immortalised on a National Geographic cover, in Kabul after she was deported from Pakistan.
The president and first lady Rula Ghani honoured Gula and her children at a ceremony at the presidential palace in Kabul.
“Pleased to have welcomed Sharbat Gula and her family back to (Afghanistan), her life inspires us all and she represents all the brave women of this land” said President Ashraf Ghani on Twitter.
Ghani had promised to provide Gula, 45, with a furnished apartment to ensure she “lives with dignity and security” in Afghanistan.
Gula revealed that 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.
Pakistani officials handed over Gula, whose haunting eyes were captured in a cover photo taken in a refugee camp in the 1980s, to Afghan border authorities after escorting her from a Peshawar hospital where she was being treated for Hepatitis C.
Gula, arguably Afghanistan’s most famous refugee, was arrested last month for living in Pakistan on fraudulent identity papers.
Since July hundreds of thousands have returned to Afghanistan ahead of a March 2017 deadline for the final return of all Afghan refugees.
Last month UNHCR Refugee Agency revealed that 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.