‘It’s heartbreaking’: Steve McCurry on Afghan Girl, a portrait of past and present

Lorenzo Tondo and Eric Hilaire, The Guardian, September 20, 2021

On 1 September, a young Afghan girl stood in line with her family at a US base in Sicily waiting to board a flight to Philadelphia. She is about nine years old and is one of more than 100,000 people evacuated from Kabul by allied forces after the Taliban took control of the country in August.

Her photo, taken for the Guardian by Italian photojournalist Alessio Mamo and featured on the front page of the UK print edition, resembles the Afghan Girl by American photographer Steve McCurry. McCurry’s portrait, of a Pashtun child, Sharbat Gula, which appeared on the June 1985 cover of National Geographic, became the symbol, not only of Afghanistan, but of displaced refugees across the world.

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