Before the U.S. invasion, before the Russian war, before the Marxist revolution, Afghanistan used to be a pretty nice place.
An astonishing collection of photos from the 1960s was recently featured by the Denver Post.
Amateur photographer, and college professor, Dr. William Podlich took a leave of absence from his job at Arizona State to work with UNESCO in Kabul, bringing his wife and daughters with him.
Later, son-in-law Clayton Esterson revived the later doctor’s photos and put them on the web. The response was amazing.
Esterson told the Denver Post: “Many Afghans have written comments [on our website] showing their appreciation for the photographs that show what their country was like before 33 years of war. This makes the effort to digitize and restore these photographs worthwhile.”
On the left is a picture showing the photographer’s daughter in a pleasant park. On the right is that same park 40 years later.
Even in the 60s, this blonde attracted looks in Afghanistan.
Many wore nice western clothes in the 60s.
Afghanistan had a modern military since reforms by King Amanullah Khan in the 1920s.
A nice car drives through a nice tunnel.
Girls and boys in western style universities and schools were encouraged to talk to each other freely.
There was also a Girl and Boy Scouts of Afghanistan.
Much of Afghan culture retained its traditional dress and style. Even in Kabul, the bazaars remained much the same.
Following World War II, which Afghanistan stayed out of, the Soviets and Americans competed for rights to build Afghan roadways.
Unlike current roads in Afghanistan, roads in the 60s were well kept and generally free of wear and tear.
Kids grew up in a safe environment, unafraid of extremist influence.
Signs of prosperity dotted the urban landscape, showing off a solid upper class of Afghanistan.
One of a few American schools in Afghanistan shows just how stable the country once was.
Fruit markets stayed largely the same, despite all the advancements, and they became a staple of Afghan culture.
Still much of the city maintained its cultural identity through architecture.
Even so, there was much western influence in the newer homes and businesses.
Women weren’t required to wear burqas, but some would still cover up by choice.
Elementary education, even out in the rural areas, was standard. Kids and citizens alike felt opportunity hinged on education.
Nationalism grew, as people identified with the nation rather than with tribes.
There were movie theaters, libraries, chemistry labs, and on the outskirts of the city, large factories, churning out products.
While urban Afghanistan became modern, rural Afghanistan contained these quaint scenes.
Afghanistan had a national identity, and national style, despite all the ‘western’ influence.
An Afghan fair, complete with a ferris wheel.
Yes, both rural and urban, western and south asian, it seemed all of Afghanistan …
… was on the road to prosperity … until the wars began …
You’ve seen Afghanistan how it used to be …
Add To The Conversation Using Facebook Comments