National Geographic’s Famous ‘Afghan Girl’ Arrested In Pakistan


Islamabad: National Geographic’s famous ‘Afghan Girl’, Sharbat Bibi, was arrested on corruption charges on Wednesday by Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Peshawar, sources told Dawn newspaper.

National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry took a photograph of Bibi at a refugee camp near Peshawar in 1984. She became known worldwide as ‘Afghan Girl’, after McCurry’s photograph became the cover of the June 1985 issue of National Geographic Magazine. At the time, she was about 12 years old.

National Geographic also made a short documentary about her life and called her the ‘Mona Lisa of Afghan war’, Dawn said.

Bibi was arrested from her residence today for forging a Computerised National Identity Card, FIA sources told Dawn. Bibi has dual Pakistani and Afghan nationality, and both those ID cards have been recovered from her.

Bibi remained anonymous for years after a picture of her made the cover of National Geographic. She was eventually located in 2002 by the magazine.

After her family granted her permission to meet with McCurry, who photographed her 17 years earlier, he said he knew immediately that he had found her again. “Her eyes are as haunting now as they were then,” he had said, Dawn reported.