National Geographic 'Afghan girl' to be freed on bail

The Afghan woman who appeared on an iconic cover of National Geographic magazine three decades ago will be freed on bail, days after being arrested in Pakistan on fraud charges.

Sharbat Gula, whose haunting portrait, captured by photographer Steve McCurry, shed light onto the plight of refugees in Afghanistan, has been accused of forging a Pakistani identity card.

Pakistan's interior minister said: "I think I will have to review this case because she is a woman and we should see it from a humanitarian angle."

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan added that bail should be arranged, but said: "If we withdraw charges against her, deport her, or give her a temporary visa to leave Pakistan, then we will have to take back cases against the officials who issued her fake ID card.

"They are the real culprits, and I do not want to let them off the hook in any manner."

Mrs Gula faces a fine and up to 14 years in jail.

Mr McCurry said that upon hearing of her arrest, he was "committed to doing anything and everything possible to provide legal and financial support for her and her family".