Sharbat Gula, the subject of the "Afghan Girl" National Geographic cover, was arrested in Pakistan on Wednesday during an identity-card fraud investigation. Steve McCurry, the photographer who took the world-famous image, said he was working to help Gula after her arrest. Photo courtesy of Pakistan Federal Investigation Agency
PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Sharbat Gula, the subject of the "Afghan Girl" National Geographic cover, was arrested on Wednesday, Steve McCurry, the photographer who took the world-famous image said.
Gula was arrested in Peshawar, Pakistan, during an identity-card fraud investigation. NPR reports Gula is being held in Peshawar's central jail.
McCurry in 1984 photographed Gula when she was 12 years old while she was living in a refugee camp near Peshawar after she and her relatives fled Afghanistan after a Soviet airstrike killed her parents during the 1979-1989 Soviet-Afghan War.
"For a young girl who was not only a refugee but an orphan, who was sort of anonymous — she really fell between the cracks of society there," McCurry told NPR in 2015.
In 2002, McCurry tracked down Gula in Pakistan and managed to take another photograph of her. On Wednesday, McCurry said he found out from a friend in Peshawar that Gula was arrested.
"We are doing everything we can to get the facts by contacting our colleagues and friends in the area. I am committed to doing anything and everything possible to provide legal and financial support for her and her family," McCurry said in a Facebook post. "I object to this action by the authorities in the strongest possible terms. She has suffered throughout her entire life, and her arrest is an egregious violation of her human rights."
Gula, now in her 40s, was married and was the mother of three daughters when McCurry met her again in 2002.
"Her life has been -- since she left the refugee camp in '92, it's been relatively peaceful. She got married, had these children, living a traditional Pashtun life, in a village. It's been, thankfully, a bit uneventful," McCurry told NPR in 2002.
In February 2015, Gula was accused of using fake information to get a Pakistani Computerized National Identity Card. The case was referred to Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency, which arrested Gula.