Photo of an Afghan girl's cry imitates art

(CBS News) KABUL, Afghanistan - We were struck this week by the work of a combat photographer. The sharp eye of one of our producers in London, Jane Whitfield, saw life imitating art, and she brought it to the attention of CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey.

Twelve year-old Tarana Akbari will probably never wear her best dress again. But in an uncanny coincidence, the blood-soaked garment, and her agonized cry, have been immortalized in a digital version of the world's most famous scream.

A poem on the back of Edvard Munch's painting "The Scream" to explain why he made it reads in part: "...suddenly the sky turned blood red...there was blood and tongues of fire...and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature."

Video: "The Scream" auctioned off for $119.9M

It's a fitting description of a suicide bombing.

"All around were dead bodies of my cousins," Tarana said, "and some of them were missing hands and some of them were missing their faces."

In one of those inexplicable quirks of fate in war zones, Afghan photographer Massoud Hossaini was a few feet away and escaped with only temporary deafness.

"She was shouting, but I just could see it," said Hossaini. "That time for me, the responsibility that I felt was just showing that pain, showing that situation. I click, I record it, and I knew that I did my job."

Tarana is still going through the pain of rehabilitation.

"When I see the picture, I remember it all like it was a dream," she said, "or didn't even happen."

Massoud Hossaini hopes his Pulitzer Prize-winning image of the scream of the girl in the green dress will help people understand that such horror happens here on a regular basis.

"What is the reality here -- how life is too cheap here in Afghanistan," he said.

To put that in perspective, Munch's "Scream" recently sold for $120 million -- roughly what it costs to fight the war here for 14 hours.

  • Allen Pizzey

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