"little boy grew up"
"Although her name was not known, her picture, titled "Afghan Girl", appeared on the June 1985 cover of National Geographic. The image of her face, with a red scarf draped loosely over her head and with her piercing blue-green eyes staring directly into the camera, became a symbol both of the 1980s Afghan conflict and of the refugee situation worldwide. The image itself was named as "the most recognized photograph" in the history of the magazine.
The identity of the Afghan Girl remained unknown for over 15 years; Afghanistan remained largely closed to Western media until after the overthrow of the Taliban government in 2001. Although McCurry made several attempts during the 1990s to locate her, he was unsuccessful.
In January 2002, a National Geographic team travelled to Afghanistan to locate the subject of the now-famous photograph. McCurry, upon learning that the Nasir Bagh refugee camp was soon to close, inquired of its remaining residents, one of whom knew Gula's brother and was able to send word to her hometown. However, there were a number of women who came forward and identified themselves erroneously as the famous Afghan Girl.
The team finally located Gula, then roughly age 30, in a remote region of Afghanistan; she had returned to her native country from the refugee camp in 1992. Her identity was confirmed using biometric technology which matched her iris patterns to those of the photograph with virtual certainty. She vividly recalled being photographed – it was the first and only time she had ever had her picture taken."