Afghanistan during the 1960s was a very different country than we see it today. The country remained neutral and was neither a participant in World War II nor aligned with either power bloc in the Cold War. However, it was a beneficiary of the latter rivalry as both the Soviet Union and the United States vied for influence by building Afghanistan’s main highways, airports, and other vital infrastructure. Afghanistan was a peaceful country until the 1979 Soviet invasion.
In 1967, Dr. William Podlich took a two-year leave of absence from teaching at Arizona State University and began teaching in the Higher Teachers College in Kabul, Afghanistan. During his stay, Dr. Podlich and his family took a lot of photos of a thriving, modernizing country. Check out 1960s Afghanistan photos from before the wars below.
Also check: Afghan Mujahideen During The 1979-1980 [18+]
1. On the left is a picture showing the photographer’s daughter in a park. On the right is that same park 40 years later.
2. Photographer’s daughter.
3. Kabul Gorge or locally known as Tang-i-Gharoo which led to the Darae Maiee-Par (Flying Fish Valley). This is the highway which connects Kabul with the province city of Jalalabad.
4. Bus Driver.
5. Bus Trip.
6. Unlike current roads in Afghanistan, roads in the 1960s were well kept and generally free.
7. Many men wore nice western clothes.
8. Girls and boys in western style universities and schools were encouraged to talk to each other freely.
9. Afghan petrol station.
10. The Salang Tunnel, located in Parwan province, is a link between northern and southern Afghanistan crossing the Hindu Kush mountain range under the difficult Salang Pass. The Soviet-built tunnel opened in 1964.
11. The photographer’s daughter at Paghman Gardens.
12. King’s Hill in Paghman Gardens.
13. Young Afghans walking home.
14. A residential hillside in Kabul.
15. A group of young Afghans share tea and music.
16. Frying jilabee, a sweet dessert.
17. Much of Afghan culture retained its traditional dress and style. Even in Kabul, the bazaars remained much the same.
18. Chemistry lesson in a mud-walled classroom.
19. Parking lot of the American International School of Kabul (AISK).
20. Signs of prosperity dotted the urban landscape, showing off a solid upper class of Afghanistan. Masjid Shah-e-do Shamsheera in Kabul.