1950s / 1960s: Afghanistan

“Given the images people see on TV, many conclude Afghanistan never made it out of the Middle Ages. But that is not the Afghanistan I remember. I grew up in Kabul in the 1950s and ’60s. Stirred by the fact that news portrayals of the country’s history didn’t mesh with my own memories, I wanted to discover the truth.

“Remembering Afghanistan’s hopeful past only makes its present misery seem more tragic. But it is important to know that disorder, terrorism, and violence against schools that educate girls are not inevitable. I want to show Afghanistan’s youth of today how their parents and grandparents really lived.”

- Mohammad Qayoumi

"A laboratory at the Vaccine Research Center."

“A laboratory at the Vaccine Research Center.”

"A villager welcomes visiting nurses to his compound."

“A villager welcomes visiting nurses to his compound.”

"Biology class, Kabul University."

“Biology class, Kabul University.”

"Cabinet in session."

“Cabinet in session.”

"Central control panel at Radio Kabul transmitter. Transmitter can be heard as far distant as South Africa and Indonesia."

“Central control panel at Radio Kabul transmitter. Transmitter can be heard as far distant as South Africa and Indonesia.”

"Fresh fruit bazaar."

“Fresh fruit bazaar.”

"Furniture display room."

“Furniture display room.”

"Gulbahar Textile Plant is one of the most modern in Asia."

“Gulbahar Textile Plant is one of the most modern in Asia.”

"Hundreds of Afghan youngsters take active part in Scout programs."

“Hundreds of Afghan youngsters take active part in Scout programs.”

"In the absence of dependable international peace, national defense plays an important role in the affairs of the nation."

“In the absence of dependable international peace, national defense plays an important role in the affairs of the nation.”

"Infant ward at feeding time."

“Infant ward at feeding time.”

"Kabul is served by an up-to-date transportation system."

“Kabul is served by an up-to-date transportation system.”

"Kabul University students changing classes. Enrollment has doubled in last four years."

“Kabul University students changing classes. Enrollment has doubled in last four years.”

"Most hospitals give extensive post-natal care to young mothers."

“Most hospitals give extensive post-natal care to young mothers.”

"Mothers and children at a city playground."

“Mothers and children at a city playground.”

"Park Cinema, like many others, provides the needed entertainment."

“Park Cinema, like many others, provides the needed entertainment.”

"Recording room pre-records many interviews, special service programs for delayed broadcast."

“Recording room pre-records many interviews, special service programs for delayed broadcast.”

"Sarobi hydro-power plant on Kabul River is one of the country's foremost power stations."

“Sarobi hydro-power plant on Kabul River is one of the country’s foremost power stations.”

"Skilled workers like these press operators are building new standards for themselves and their country."

“Skilled workers like these press operators are building new standards for themselves and their country.”

"Student nurses at Maternity Hospital, Kabul."

“Student nurses at Maternity Hospital, Kabul.”

"Textile store window display."

“Textile store window display.”


Thank you to Eric Stephan and Mohammad Rahim

74 Responses

    • wafiullah amiri

      asallam u alikum!
      Brothers and sisters and respected elders!
      I am an Afghan, born in Afghanistan and Alhamdulillah raised there too. that’s what happened when a cat starts thinking like a cheetah, our country was never that modern as shown in the above pictures but yeah you can say only Kabul was modern but that doesn’t mean the Afghanistan was modern and I’m not afraid to say that unscarfed heads and uncovered legs of ladies means being modern while more than half of them were uneducated and the same is with nice looking gentlemen. The problem in Afghanistan is that Allah ( almighty ) has cursed my country and my nation because most of them I don’t say all of them but yeah most of them are, cheaters, fighters, not honest, cowards, uneducated (Islamic educations ), I can keep on it might take few pages to write them all but I fell ashamed coz after all I am an Afghan too, each one of them who got the power they betrayed first there religion then the country and the people and sold it to other hands, and nations some of them escaped in the times when there country and people needed their help like cowards and now they bark at others from other countries of the world while having good lives how can they understand the pain of the people who actually faced every bad situation inside the country. And those whom they stayed inside the country they call every one else outsiders and call them qaabshoi and sagshoi well to keep it short all I want to say is that Afghans are too good to blame others and not looking into their own acts sometimes they blame America or Russia and sometimes Iran and Pakistan, but they don’t realise that these countries could never do anything until there wasn’t help from insiders with them. But anyhow look at now more than 38 countries of the world couldn’t help Afghans it’s just simply because no one can do anything against Allah almighty’s wish if they can, they should really try. as an afghan I just want to pray that may Allah almight take his curse from my country and people I don’t think America, or united nations or Taliban or mujahedeen can do anything. Or some bunch of stupid politicians saying random stuff from there stomachs.
      Wasallam and I’m sorry if there is any mistakes in my writing coz it’s not my native language all I wanted was to deliver my message.

      • mehriya

        My bacha Beresh Afghan boy you do not know what the hell you are talking about I was in Kabul at that time in 1970 i was in afghanistan and live in Kabul, Afghanistan was modern civilised.and Pakistan was like rathol sewer.You must be one of the boy keeper of Pakistany man who send you to do their dirty job, hurt Afghan and you are a sham for real Afghans.

  1. Buzz

    I wonder, and this will sound racist but it’s because I don’t know the history of Afghanistan during this period represented, who was in control of the nation at the time? Also really radical Islamic “fundementalism” as it’s known today is credited to have come out of Egypt in the mid 50′s. That looks to be about the period these photos were taken. It is very sad because we in the west prefer our luxury. It is also sad because no country or area should abuse any gender and recind rights out of misguided efforts at purity. Again, not intended to offend, just some thoughts and questions.

    • Azrael

      To my knowledge, Afghanistan was, at that time, a sovereign nation having defeated the British and gained independence. It’s worth noting that these are quite definitely pictures of urban Afghanistan – the wild north and rural regions were far less developed.

      Things didn’t start to go downhill until 1970, when the US started funding the proto-Taliban insurgents along the Russian border. Like most cold war ‘interventions’ the US hoped to put pressure on Russia through a proxy war – both sides did that routinely as a means of military engagement that lacked the risk of a full-blown war between superpowers. On this occasion it was disastrous, both for Afghanistan and Russia. The proto-taliban (the Mujhadeen) forces set about putting the country on its path to medieval-dom, using their new resources to transform the country into the state it is today. Then the Russians reacted (disproportionately) to the US bait and mounted a full invasion of Afghanistan.

      10 years later the Mujhadeen had defeated the Russians by bleeding them for resources until the war became too great an economic drain – much like their response to US/NATO more recently. By that stage, the Mujhadeen were highly armed (as the US started ramping up arms supplies to them as soon as the Russians launched their invasion), and had become strongly fundamentalist in the same manner as regional Pakistan did during that same period. They then morphed into the Taliban, swept south and defeated the ‘urban Afganistan’ depicted in the above photos, hung the president and took control of the country.

      I’d be very surprised if history doesn’t repeat itself when the US leaves – whether that’s in 3 years or 30 years.

      Most of the fundamentalism that we associate with the middle east today only came around in the last few decades, as a consequence of military ‘interventions’ by both the US and Russia during the cold war. What the author says above could be applied equally to Pakistan. Even Iran only turned fundamentalist in response to the Western nations crushing their early attempt at democracy and installing a ruthless and barbaric dictatorship (the Shah).

      Remember that when you look around the middle east and ask why doesn’t democracy seem to work there. I’m not blaming the US alone – Russia was doing the exact same thing throughout that period. But the current state of the middle east was never an inevitable feature of their history or culture – it was the product of being treated as toy soldiers in the cold war between the US and Russia.

      • Swami

        Azrael, fundamentalist Islam was having its evil effects in the middle east long before the US and USSR were on the scene.

        Here are some other nations that were caught up in the US/USSR Cold War:


        I can list many others, but the pattern is very clear: Nations that adopted the western social models did well. Most are prosperous, free nations today. Nations that adopted other models, Communism, Islam, etc, did not. North and South Korea are the most obvious example. You can hardly blame the US for wishing to see the world under the western model!

      • Kobee

        Nice thesis. But you’re obviously naive. Good luck with that.

      • GILMORE

        “”Things didn’t start to go downhill until 1970, when the US started funding the proto-Taliban insurgents along the Russian border””

        Your ‘history’ is only incorrect about dates, places, countries, and motivations. The spelling is spot on though. Kudos.

        The US didn’t ‘find’ tiddytwat until after the soviets invaded, and that only happened after the communist-coup was falling apart and needed to be propped up. Either you’re perfectly aware of the facts, and want to promote a B.S. rewriting of reality, or you’re completely ignorant yet still choose to bloviate about that which you know nothing about.

        Either way you don’t come off well.

      • Callahan

        Azrael, you are absolutely right about that – and it was confirmed by Zbigniew Brzezinski (Carters’ national security advisor) in his interview for the french magazine Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998. Just google “Zbigniew Brzezinski’s interview with Le Nouvel Observateur”. Same facts are mentioned in Robert Gates’ book.

  2. Catherine Jones

    Oh boy has that country been screwed up. I can’t believe the Afghanis did it on their own so who should we blame? The US, the USSR, UK, oil companies? You can bet that those responsible aren’t going to come forward

    • koczani

      How about blaming Islamic Fundamentalism and the Taliban. Those are the monsters that believe in genetial multilation of women.

    • Avatar of Oscar Eugene Hasten
      Oscar Eugene Hasten

      You will find that Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and many other countries were well on their way to becoming modern democratic countries before interference from Imperialist powers. For example, in 52 the democratically elected government of Iran was overthrown by the US and Britain in order to keep the oil companies in control of Iranian oil. What they got was the Shah of Iran and we got a friend in the Middle East.

      So it goes for most of the middle east.

      ReplyReport user
    • mehriya

      No my dear, think hard who got rich for destroying Afghanistan, rathole Pakistan and Pakistan only.

  3. J. Whittaker

    Afganistan certainly seemed to be on the right path in the 1950s. So sad what’s become of them since.

  4. Michael Stevens

    Like Iran, Egypt, Syria, & Turkey, these countries all made a very deliberate effort to Westernise and thus become “modern” – but I’d put money on nearly all the people in these phots coming from the tiny middle or upper classes – they simply didn’t carry the peasants with them.

  5. Enygma

    @Catherine Jones, answer; All of the above…

    Odd coincidence, Iraq and Iran also had the earliest democratic/parliamentary systems in the region. Again, “all of the above” got involved and… ok, maybe it’s not such a coincidence.

    Hard to make it “out of the middle ages” if you keep getting carpet bombed back into it.

  6. Hazza

    Even the commenters are afraid of being labelled racist!
    Why fear the truth? The problem IS the interpretation of the Quran, seems that each ‘mad mullah’ has his own version.
    If none followed these teachings there would be no problem.
    The solution would be in rewriting the misunderstood words to emphasise the EXACT meaning

  7. L


    Sorry to say this, but your attitude is a text book example of the mindset that allows groups like the Taliban to prosper. The West is now far more concerned with appearing tolerant, accepting, and non-racist than it is about women’s rights. We walk on egg shells and accept all cultural practices as being valid when they clearly aren’t. Here’s two as an example: genital mutilation and the banning of women from education. When we as a society begin to entertain these practices as in any way defensible because they are “part of the culture” or “part of the religion” then we might as well curl up and die.

  8. Greg Sims L/Cpl 1967-1969

    These pics could be any western country…what happend? In 50 years, it appears as though, the country digressed back 1500 years. It would seem as though the Taliban types have set this country in a counter clockwise, rotation

  9. Oh whatever

    Yeah blame the fact that girls there are not allowed to go to school on “carpet bombing” blame the opium producing warlords there on “carpet bombing”. No, it’s the Taliban that has set this country back 1500 years!

  10. Token

    The country…or the city? There are lots of countries in the world whose capitals look very modern and progressive…but where time steps back centuries once you drive out past the reach of city lights. I’d be interested in seeing 60-year-old pictures of the Afgan countryside to see how modern and enlightened it appeared to be…

  11. Farhad

    if you guys really wanna know what happened just go ahead and search for america’s cold war against Soviet union & Afghan communists in Afghanistan and you all will know what the fuck the most powerful countries in the world did to us!

    • Sharon

      Actually, Farhad, Afghanistan went down the drain when the Soviets came in. The Taliban came to power fighting the Soviets. America helped fund the war against USSR by giving Afghanistan weapons to fight back so I am not sure how we’re at fault for the downfall of a civilized nation.

      • Not Sharon

        Be a little more honest, Sharon. The US funded the Taliban and a whole bunch of other militarised groups,.. anyone who could fight their proxy war against The Reds. And then there is also the Pakistani Intelligence Services, who continue to bankroll and provide intelligence and guidance to the Taliban, as it keep the US in the region, paying war dollars and providing kit in the fear that if the Taliban rolled into Karachi they’d have a fully working nuclear arsenal to use.

  12. Mr F

    Same outcome just a different cartel with bigger bombs and more weapons that the local chiefs. Money and power, it’s the same the world over people.

  13. mcravener

    @ Token – I agree the countryside has probably always been unaffected by attempts at modernization, although quite possibly vaccinations went beyond the cities when things were looking up for Afghanistan, at least you’d hope so.

    @ Oh Whatever
    The mess Afghanistan is in is definately in part caused by the Taliban, but their ascendency came after the nation was torn asunder by the Soviets, and unfortunately international support did not come to Afghanistan after the Soviets had left.

    A war mentality brings out the worst in people and quite possibly religion and radical beliefs have an ‘in’ from the chaos and desperation caused by war.

  14. CatM

    How surprising! I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around the kind of philosophy that would make someone look at all this and be dissatisfied with the progress of their own country to the point of wrestling it back to the stone age.

  15. Joanne Ciccone

    These pictures should fill us all with hope for their future, but I wonder how long it will take to settle all the wars and issues that fractured this country from a modern future.

  16. Sharon

    I lived in Afghanistan in the early 70s. There was obvious CIA presence on the streets (crew cuts, fake Hawaiian shirts, bermuda shorts, white socks, black shoes, Ray-bans, hello ?) There were Russian missile silos disguised as grain silos north of Mazar-i-Sharif, guarded by Russian soldiers with guns. There was excellent medical care at the central hospital in Kabul, with training and an outreach program run by Medecins Sans Frontiers. A foreign woman, I walked freely through the streets of Kabul. I sometimes wore a chappai, but was not molested or even especially noticed if I didn’t. I loved it there, although I certainly didn’t approve of the casual abuse of the Hazara people. Pakistan, on the other hand, was a nightmare and I often went dressed as a man in the streets. Even then, I had stones thrown at me, and experienced rioting on the streets due in part to my presence. There seemed to be a large “intelligence community” presence at Tarbella Dam, and fundamentalist mullahs were already fomenting unrest.

    During the Soviet invasion, a friend photographed the illegal use of Stinger missiles in Chitral as well as instruction manuals on the use of nerve gas written in Russian as well as photographs of captured nerve gas canisters. He also shot documentary footage of the war, including footage of moujahiddin armed with obsolete rifles fighting Russian tanks. We took this information to the major media outlets in New York and attempted to address the U.N. about it. NO ONE cared. Someone broke into our room at the San Moritz hotel on Central Park, rifled through the documents and stole my friend’s Italian passport. That same night, my wallet was lifted when we ate at a fancy Pakistani restaurant uptown. It was found days later in the light shaft of the elevator in the highrise housing the restaurant. Nothing was missing. My friend got travel documents from his embassy and left the country immediately. He was later killed, filming in the mountains of Afghanistan.

    Later during the Soviet war, refugees…mostly women and children, mostly “peasants”….were housed in camps in Peshawar under the most arduous of conditions. Aid was not forthcoming from the United States. It was easy to radicalize the Afghani under these circumstances, since all they had to cling to was the Qu’uan. How can America possibly be surprised that the Taliban made such headway ? The Afghani were some of the finest people I have ever met. And in my opinion, Pakistan was and is one of the most dangerous places on Earth because of its irrationality and religious fanaticism. Young men are unemployed, urban, and cannot afford the bride-price to marry…a dangerous and easily swayed group. Many of the problems found there can be traced back to partition by the British and a displaced population. The same defensiveness, for many of the same reasons, exists in Israel, in my opinion.

    Last month I stumbled upon some CIA-linked documents on the Internet. They detailed minerals, gemstones and other assets found in Afghanistan. The most interesting was the statistic documenting the fairly recent discovery of large deposits of uranium. I bookmarked these documents, but when I went back to review them a week later, they had been removed and in their place was a link requiring CIA clearance to access. There is so much more going on over there, such a different agenda, than what we are allowed to see in the popular press. I mourn the destruction of this wonderful place and the sorrow rained down upon its people.

    • Sharon

      Sharon, most young people don’t believe me when I tell them how modern Afghanistan used to be before the Soviets invaded and the Taliban became the answer to fighting back. The people had no idea what they were opening themselves up to until it was too late. I impress upon young people that these women enjoyed the same freedoms we enjoyed at the time and had it all ripped away in a few short years. What a waste of a great culture.

    • Lorena

      Wow. So the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan but it´s the fault of the US? Yes, they could/should have done something, and the UN as well, but let´s put the blame where it really belongs.
      Also, the situation in Afghanistan today and the situation in Israel are totally different. But the comparison could be more valid with Syria.

  17. Liz

    Afganistan has some of the most sort after minerals in the world including vast deposits of uranium. This info was published not too long ago as I remember.

    Before the USSR invasion, Afganistan was a happening place, home of the finest horsemen in the world. I purchased many handmade items via a friend there years ago and treasure them.

    Thank you Sharon, for your wonderful info.

  18. Roberto Sanchez

    Old tasty pics, without other value than show the people how to create ilusion, and raise national spirit. Just establishment propaganda. There’s not heaven in earth.

  19. Annie

    How strange it is that their past seems futuristic when compared to their present…

  20. Lenea

    This is interesting, indeed. Even the movie, The Kite Runner, didn’t have a modern look to Kabul, but in fact, the pictures showed that at least some parts of Kabul was very modern. Even women were learning in universities with men, and in the same laboratories.

  21. Abhinn Menon

    This is the Afghanistan, that my mother talked about, assuming that these photos were taken during the rein of The Shah…i feel sad to see the pictures of Afganistan.. they really are wonderful people…

  22. Peter Farrell

    The mullahs and Taliban would rather rule over a country in ruins than participate in rebuilding their country with somebody else in charge. Very much like our Republican/Democrat thinking in the US. But now no Afghani under 30 has ever known their country at peace. At least we Americans are lucky enough to have our wars on somebody else’s soil.

  23. Angry Voter

    Under the Romans, even people living in the country had central heating, running water and toilets. They had paved roads, written laws and a justice system.

    Then Christianity took over and insisted that occult rituals were more important than real learning so even the kings didn’t have indoor plumbing for over 1,000 years.

    All religion is mental illness and should be treated as such.

    • Dirk

      Too true. Until we can break the chain of the inherited mental illness that is religion, we will continue to live in an unjust world.

  24. jin kazama

    2 Angry Voter: roflmao

    central heating even in the country under the romans.

    biggest LOL of the day.

    another one is Peter Farrell with this phrase: “At least we Americans are lucky enough to have our wars on somebody else’s soil.” all hail AMERICA! which country you’ll destroy next? Iran or Syria?

  25. maroczy

    @jin -
    the central heating system was even found in the ruins of harappa/mohenja daro! . It doesn’t mean they needed a PG&E utility connection…the rooms had heating ducts all connected to a central fireplace!! interestingly , harappans also seemed to use a wet clay to line these ducts and they were coated with cow/buffalo dung periodically..it was difficult to say how often except for the fact that in the ruins , these ducts had layers of dung lining the wet clay walls of the duct..the houses closer to the community pool had more elaborate heating ducts implying people higher in the social order had ‘heating’ for the entire house rather than just a few rooms!! I know..I know..ancient people were stupid and our white race is the smartest…LOL for sure

  26. tbird

    What made it go backward?


    Taking that awful hateful Islam too seriously. And it’s amazing so many commenters are to scared to say it. The only women with face veils are the nurses with the newborns.

    Now we have a whole lot of people in the western world saying “it’s okay to force women to wear burka’s because that’s their culture, we need to be culturally sensitive.”

    Solution? There is no quick solution. But we need to stop giving a free pass to any idea merely because it’s a religion and “needs to be respected”.

  27. sarah


    what makes people go backward?

    thinking like yours.

    you think an ideology that promoted learning, understanding and beauty would have caused this? you have no clue. the islamic civilisation lasted longer than any other and the knowledge that it had aquired it what makes part of your life so comfortable and rich.

    lets just ignore soviet rule, US influence because a religion all on its own has the power to regress a whole culture and people. its thinking like yours that stumps progress and reflesiveness. you have a similar mentality to those of the taliban, the only crucial difference is that you were not forced through poverty and violence to think this way. you are naturally backward.

    • fr

      Really, you think that poster is like the Taliban? And Islam is understanding? Please get lost with your complete BS.

  28. Tommy

    What wonderful pictures, we should have more like those, to remind us that there are real people out there in the other Countries, who once lived good lifes.

    Not too long ago I watched a video of the countryside of todays Afghanistan, and man it was beautiful, at least in those areas where there were no bomb craters.

  29. Reyaz Nadi

    The pitures are amazing,GOGbless whoever saved these pictures and posted the pictures for the world to see it. This time we will build Afghanistan even better, greener, sustainable and broughter, Afghanistan never failed, the fundimintalits and super powers did that to Afghanistan, Afghanistan was the first ground zero, and new york was the second.
    as an artist/architect and activist I have many architectural plans for rebuilding Afghanistan.

  30. Josh Schmidt

    It’s up to a people/country to decide their own fate. If they can’t stand up for what is right on their own, why should anyone else be risking their lives for them?

    • Drew

      Not a bad thing to remember if you live in the U.S. and head to the polls this fall.

  31. Tom

    I travel frequently to Afghanistan and some friends tell me of what it was like. Over 30 years of war has done so much damage. Thank you for these photos. They show what is possible.

  32. Tom

    For those who wish to see a progressive and liberal (in the classical sense of the word) Afghanistan, please visit http://www.aelso.org, the Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization.

  33. Michael

    This is by far the most “comment posted” posting on Retronaut that I’ve seen to date! Obviously a concern for many people today on how we (western society in particular) look upon other countries and cultures and what is perceived as a “closed” society and our desire to manipulate or change these cultures to a more western based society, a struggle that no doubt will exist as long as the human species will exist on this planet…..

  34. Pam Ellis

    Fundamentalism filled the void and instability created by years of war and destruction.
    If the infrastructure of the urban areas of Afghanistan had not been so destroyed and daily life made chaotic and hard…I doubt Afghanistan would be anything like it is today.
    I can see religion gaining a bit over modernity, like countries around it…but women not allowed to be alone, being attacked if they try to be educated, being covered from head to toe with even eyes covered? Seems unlikely.Z
    I don’t know the solution. Even if the super powers that helped level this country tried to make repairs…the fundamentalists would just bomb them, thus wasting money.

  35. Lloyd Miller

    No mentioned so far is that the West was admired and immitated during the heydey of the West, especially America after WWII. This has been lost for various reasons. Also, wasn’t there a Afghan King back then in league with the West? I also remember the SOVIET propaganda justifying the invasion: the evils of Islamic Fundamentalism as compared to Communism.

  36. Rachel

    These photos are amazing mor people should see them! They have changed my options on Afganistan completely! War is always sad but seeing what life was like before makes it even more sad considering how women are treated now.

  37. Khalida

    Villager welcomes visiting nurses to his compound.(Pictuer)
    A nurse has bag in hand is my mother, she is a life, because of she, we are an healthy and educated family. When she was 27 years old she lost her husband. She alone helped us to study and be a healthy citizen for Afghanistan. We are two sisters and one brother, my mother never left country because of us. She believes that one day Afghanistan will change and we have to stay here and serve for our country.
    I am working in an international organization and serving for poorest of the poor, my brother is a doctor and my sister living in Qerghsistan.

    Now we have children, our goal is present a healthy citizen not only for Afghanistan for all over the world (all this because of my mother).

    I hope one day all Afghanistan have mother like me, it is my dream.
    Khalida Hafizi

  38. grass

    In other news, I think these comments would be easier to read if they were not set in a low contrast, monospace typeface (courier).

  39. Chris

    Beautiful. Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures from beautiful Afghanistan. I wish peace for this lovely country. Shared!

  40. Matt M

    The Taliban grew out of a freedom fighting movement supported by the CIA to contain the Soviets. Well, the idea of containment evolved into a full demise of USSR, an unpredictable over achievement of the CIA in a period when the USSR was extending its influence through out the world, but what happened next was an overly armed factions in Afghanistan. The CIA again stepped up to the plate and instead of disarming them which was a task quite impossible, so it meddled and fomented inter factional warfare amongst them which lead to the subsequent civil war ruining the country and setting it back a couple centuries. In the world of international power struggles, it is not uncommon to befriend former adversaries in order to score. The US government is currently in active engagement with the Taliban inviting them back to take the helm to bring balance to an out of control corrupt regime of their own making.

  41. Perryn Ivery

    Great pictures. I really cannot believe how much this country has changed in 50 years. Completely out of control nowadays. At least it seemed like they were on the right path at one time regardless of who was running the Afghanistan back then.

  42. Paul

    I’m sorry for those who have been forced to flee Afghanistan and watch what has happened to it. To my mind the real blame is religious leaders with their own aganda, and a rotten political intervention by the USA.
    Modernisation and reform followed soon after the British left. Womens’ rights and education proved a step too far for some tribes and religous leaders, and the King was forced to abdicate after an armed uprising in 1929. Under a new King reforms continued at a slower more careful pace. The 1950′s and 60′s were indeed a period of modernisation under the monarchy, with close links to the neighbouring USSR.
    Sadly a coup and further political upheaval in the 1970′s resulted in a hard line radical Marxist government, that proved unpopular. The USSR intervened unwisely and over the top, but those generals now insist the plan was to stabalise and exit, but the USA and UK decided to have a proxi war …..
    I seem to remember reading how Iran had a socialist government that decided the oil under Iran belonged to Iran and nationalised it … naughty how very dare they upset Anglo-American Oil …. so the US and UK arranged for the government to be replaced by a less socialist Shah.

  43. Prince Ali

    I as an afghan and world peace ambassador would like to see afghanistan just like old back days. and if i can do anything to make it better im here for it now in afghanistan after 21 years later that i come back to kabul.
    Prince Ali

  44. Mirwais

    With respect to comments by all of you.
    Afghanistan has been the victim of imposition of so called western civilization. The imposition has been always on a select group of families who were always inclined to blidly follow the lifestyle which has always been in stark contrast to the Afghan culture and objected to by the vast majority every where outside the capital, Kabul. This stands true for 1930s, 1960s and post 2001. The artificial impostions had always its adverse effects on the connections between the ruler and the ruled.
    As far as governance, transforttion, industry, health, eductaion etc are concerned they did exist but only in 2 or 3 cities of the country.
    The real Afghan problem always lied in the disunity of the leadership as every one wants to run Afghanistan as per his wishes. They need a middle way else the country will never recover.

  45. Ssail

    Come on don’t be so reaking dumb we all know if was George Bush’s fault! LOL OH! I really don’t know much about it but correct me if I am wrong. They didn’t speak English. Look in the bottom 1/4 of the record store picture?????? Is this a fake job( pretty well done if so)

  46. Soap

    My family who is of middle eastern descent has told me about when they used to go on vacation to Iran and Afghanistan in the 1960s and how different it was. I have seen family pictures of ladies with beehives and fashionable clothes and men in suits. They are so disappointed that religion and politics have made the middle east so backwards.

  47. PerseusWong

    Tell that to the gays and women who have been mutilated and executed under Sharia because they don’t conform to Islam’s standard of “…learning, understanding and beauty”.

    Shame on you for defending the indefensible!

  48. Gilad

    Thank you very much for these important and beautiful photos.
    May peace soon come back to your wonderfull country,
    Gilad, Israel


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