Photo: Dr. Bill Podlich
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.
Girls and boys in western style universities and schools were encouraged to talk to each other freely.
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.
Fruit markets stayed largely the same, despite all the advancements, and they became a staple of Afghan culture.
Elementary education, even out in the rural areas, was standard. Kids and citizens alike felt opportunity hinged on education.
There were movie theatres, libraries, chemistry labs, and on the outskirts of the city, large factories, churning out products.
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