Gula was a 12-year-old Afghan girl when she became the subject of one of National Geographic’s most famous covers. Her family had fled to Pakistan from Afghanistan during Russia’s occupation, and McCurry found her living in poverty with hundreds of other refugees on the streets outside an Islamabad bakery. The image not only got Gula recognized internationally but also brought attention to the plight that many Afghans endured at this time because it illustrated what life looked like for children who were forced out their homes by war or natural disaster.
Sharbat Gula is best known as “the green-eyed girl” photographed by journalist Steve McCurry in 1985 while he lived among Afghani refugees displaced from their country due to Soviet invasion. Despite being just twelve years old.