APNewsBreak: Threats bring Afghan girl back to US
by John Rogers, Associated Press
June 19, 2014 03:33 PM | 453 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In this April 2, 2014, file photo, Afghan war victim Shah Bibi Tarakhail uses her new prosthetic arm to paint at Galerie Michael in Beverly Hills, Calif. Seven-year-old Tarakhail whose love of painting won the hearts of U.S. doctors who fitted her with a prosthetic arm is returning to the United States after her newfound celebrity made her a subject of death threats in her homeland. Tarakhail is scheduled to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday, June 18, 2014 on the last leg of a journey from Kabul. Tarakhail lost her right arm when she picked up a grenade following a firefight between U.S. and Taliban forces in her village. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
In this April 2, 2014, file photo, Afghan war victim Shah Bibi Tarakhail uses her new prosthetic arm to paint at Galerie Michael in Beverly Hills, Calif. Seven-year-old Tarakhail whose love of painting won the hearts of U.S. doctors who fitted her with a prosthetic arm is returning to the United States after her newfound celebrity made her a subject of death threats in her homeland. Tarakhail is scheduled to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday, June 18, 2014 on the last leg of a journey from Kabul. Tarakhail lost her right arm when she picked up a grenade following a firefight between U.S. and Taliban forces in her village. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
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In this April 2, 2014, file photo, Afghan war victim Shah Bibi Tarakhail, left, takes a selfie with Ilaha Omar, a Children of War Foundation member, during a painting session at Galerie Michael in Beverly Hills, Calif. Seven-year-old Tarakhail whose love of painting won the hearts of U.S. doctors who fitted her with a prosthetic arm is returning to the United States after her newfound celebrity made her a subject of death threats in her homeland. Amel Najjar, executive director of the Children of War Foundation says Shah Bibi has been granted a six-month visa but Children of War may seek permanent political refugee status for her. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
In this April 2, 2014, file photo, Afghan war victim Shah Bibi Tarakhail, left, takes a selfie with Ilaha Omar, a Children of War Foundation member, during a painting session at Galerie Michael in Beverly Hills, Calif. Seven-year-old Tarakhail whose love of painting won the hearts of U.S. doctors who fitted her with a prosthetic arm is returning to the United States after her newfound celebrity made her a subject of death threats in her homeland. Amel Najjar, executive director of the Children of War Foundation says Shah Bibi has been granted a six-month visa but Children of War may seek permanent political refugee status for her. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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In this April 2, 2014, file photo, Afghan war victim Shah Bibi Tarakhail uses her new prosthetic arm to paint at Galerie Michael in Beverly Hills, Calif. Seven-year-old Tarakhail whose love of painting won the hearts of U.S. doctors who fitted her with a prosthetic arm is returning to the United States after her newfound celebrity made her a subject of death threats in her homeland. Tarakhail is scheduled to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday, June 18, 2014, on the last leg of a journey from Kabul. Tarakhail lost her right arm when she picked up a grenade following a firefight between U.S. and Taliban forces in her village. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
In this April 2, 2014, file photo, Afghan war victim Shah Bibi Tarakhail uses her new prosthetic arm to paint at Galerie Michael in Beverly Hills, Calif. Seven-year-old Tarakhail whose love of painting won the hearts of U.S. doctors who fitted her with a prosthetic arm is returning to the United States after her newfound celebrity made her a subject of death threats in her homeland. Tarakhail is scheduled to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday, June 18, 2014, on the last leg of a journey from Kabul. Tarakhail lost her right arm when she picked up a grenade following a firefight between U.S. and Taliban forces in her village. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A little Afghan girl whose love of painting won the hearts of U.S. doctors who fitted her with a prosthetic arm returned to the United States on Thursday, after the group that sponsored her first visit said it learned her newfound celebrity made her a subject of death threats at home.

Seven-year-old Shah Bibi Tarakhail arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday morning on the last leg of a journey from Kabul.

She has been granted a six-month visa, but Amel Najjar, executive director of the nonprofit Children of War Foundation, said her group is looking into permanent residency status for her, perhaps as a political refugee.

Najjar said all the attention has made her a target of insurgents in Afghanistan, who railed against her exposure to Western culture.

The father told the group that he and his daughter had been in hiding and separated from the rest of their family since her return to Afghanistan in April. Meanwhile, he said, the girl had grown so depressed that he had her hospitalized.

"Her father called us a week ago, said she'd been in a hospital near the Pakistani border and her life was in danger," Najjar said. "Her father said, 'I can't care for her anymore and it's at a point where she needs to be out of here sooner rather than later."

The little girl lost her right arm last year when she picked up a grenade following a firefight between U.S. and Taliban forces in her village near the Pakistan border. The explosion, which killed her brother, also destroyed her right eye.

After doctors at Shriners Hospital For Children fitted her with a prosthetic arm she quickly adapted to it and resumed painting, something she revealed was her favored pastime in Afghanistan.

Children of War arranged a lesson for her with prominent abstract expressionist Davyd Whaley, who praised her talent. After Galerie Michael in Beverly Hills showed her work around, she received an invitation to visit the Picasso Museum in Spain.

The foundation has found a host family that's agreed to take Shah Bibi in while the group works to keep her in the country permanently.

In the meantime, doctors at Shriners Hospital plan to fit her with a prosthetic eye and treat some of the scars she sustained when the grenade exploded.



Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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