Iconic 'Afghan Girl' Learns Her Fate

Pakistani court orders Sharbat Gula to serve a 15-day sentence, pay a fine
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2016 6:11 AM CDT
Iconic 'Afghan Girl' Learns Her Fate
Pakistani officials escort Sharbat Gula, seen in a burqa, outside a court in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Friday.   (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

Sharbat Gula, better known as National Geographic's "Afghan Girl," has pleaded guilty to falsifying documents and illegally staying in Pakistan and will be deported once she has finished up a short jail sentence, reports CNN. Her lawyer says a Pakistani court considered Gula's health in sentencing her to 15 days in jail (the 11 days she has spent in custody will count as time served) and issuing a $1,100 fine. A day after she was denied bail on Wednesday, Pakistan's foreign ministry said Gula, 46, had to be hospitalized in Peshawar, though details of her illness weren't provided, Voice of America reports. "We respect the rule of law and we have paid the fine," says the Afghan consul general in Peshawar. "We will take her with great respect to Afghanistan on Monday."

A relative tells CBS News that Gula planned to return to her father's village in Afghanistan this past summer, but she then learned village residents had fled from ISIS. "Her Pakistan ID was already blocked one year back … She thought the case had been closed. She is a simple, illiterate lady," the man says. Human Rights Watch says Pakistan has repatriated 370,000 Afghans, including 220,000 registered refugees, since July 1 in an apparent crackdown on those who escaped into Pakistan after the 1979 Soviet invasion. "They are joining more than 1 million internally displaced Afghans who are struggling to survive in a country still wracked by conflict and crushing poverty," the group says. Read more on Afghanistan's deepening refugee crisis. (Read more Pakistan stories.)

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