A mutilated Afghan woman who ignited controversy by appearing on the cover of Time magazine is to undergo surgery in the US to rebuild her face.

AFP reported the 18-year-old, identified only as Aisha, would meet with surgeons to discuss options for replacing her nose, which was cut off by the Taleban after she fled her abusive in-laws.

Aisha became a symbol of the US mission in Afghanistan, with Time arguing that the teenager’s case demonstrated why the Taleban should never be allowed to return to power.

Her ears were also sliced off in the 2009 attack. She was then taken in by the American Provincial Reconstruction Team for Oruzgan and non-governmental organisation Women for Afghan Women (WAW) after being left for dead.

“Aisha posed for the picture and says she wants the world to see the effect a Taleban resurgence would have on the women of Afghanistan, many of whom have flourished in the past few years,” Time’s managing editor Richard Stengel said in an editorial accompanying the August 9 edition of the magazine.

The Grossman Burn Foundation, a non-profit hospital in California which provides surgery to victims of serious injuries from around the globe, told AFP Aisha would be treated for free.

“The surgery is being donated by plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr Peter Grossman and the team at The Grossman Burn Centre,” foundation chairwoman Rebecca Grossman told AFP.

“The Grossman Burn Foundation is covering additional cost related to Bibi Aisha.”

The foundation said Aisha was “only one example of thousands of girls and women in Afghanistan and throughout the world” who had been mistreated in this fashion.