35 Vintage Photos that Show What Life Was Like in 1960s Afghanistan

October 5, 2015

Before the long years of war, Afghanistan was a peaceful place where people can walk anywhere and do daily errands without any guns or bombs to worry about. Its capital, Kabul,  may not be a modern city with sky-high buildings but it displayed itself as a place  with an ambitious future far from what it looks like in the present. So what went wrong? This is a question with many different answers. Some blame the Soviet Union, the USA, the conservatives, the Taliban, the religion, and more for what Afghanistan is now. This time, while we hope that things could get better, let’s take a look back at Afghanistan during the 1950s to the 1960s before the series of invasions and wars blocked its way to progress.

Harvest time on a clear, dry day

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan

A young Afghan girl looking through the UN cameraman’s equipment

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan

A vintage postcard showing the Citadel of Herat in 1960s Afghanistan

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan

A vintage postcard of 1960s Istalif

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan

A vintage postcard showing a slice of Kabul

Photo Credit: Messy Nessy Chic

Photo Credit: Messy Nessy Chic

Afghan performers

Photo Credit: Messy Nessy Chic

Photo Credit: Messy Nessy Chic

A record store in Kabul

Photo Credit: Messy Nessy Chic

Photo Credit: Messy Nessy Chic

Graduating Kabul University students

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Newborn babies in the nursery

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan

Gulbahar Textile Plant, one of the most advanced textile production unit in Asia

Photo Credit: Pickchur

Photo Credit: Pickchur

A laboratory in Kabul’s Vaccine Research Center

Photo Credit: Pickchur

Photo Credit: Pickchur

The control room of Kabul Radio Station

Photo Credit: Pickchur

Photo Credit: Pickchur

Kandahar Airport

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan

During the annual commemoration of Afghanistan’s independence, Kabul was lit up at night in late August and early September for nine evenings in the early 1960s

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan

Shopping for fresh produce

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan

The next series of photos were shot by Dr. William Podlich in 1967 while he worked for UNESCO to teach in the Higher Teachers College as the “Expert on Principles of Education” in Kabul for two years. Besides teaching, Dr. Podlich documented his and his family’s daily life in Kabul with his small camera. His son-in-law, Clayton Esterson, is the family archivist who took care of Dr. Podlich’s photos which were restored and digitized to be shared online.

Peg Podlich, Dr. Podlich’s daughter, around Kabul

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Photo Credit: Denverpost

The highway at the Kabul Gorge which connects Kabul with the province city of Jalalabad

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Photo Credit: Denverpost

A trip to Peshawar, Pakistan from Kabul, Afghanistan

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Afghan girls coming home from school

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Young Afghans sharing tea and music

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Sisters pose for a photograph in Kabul

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Chemistry lesson in a mud-walled classroom

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Afghan military band

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Students at the Higher Teachers College of Kabul

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Young students dancing to music on a school playground

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Photo Credit: Denverpost

An Afghan boy decorates cakes

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Young men cooking kebabs

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Photo Credit: Denverpost

Modernizing the country also made it a point to include improving women’s rights and education.

Women using public transport

Photo Credit: Imgur

Photo Credit: Imgur

Nurses attend class in a maternity hospital

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan

Biology Class in Kabul University

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Typical Kabul fashion in the 60s-70s

Photo Credit: Messy Nessy Chic

Photo Credit: Messy Nessy Chic

Afghan ladies at Kabul Airport

Photo Credit: Messy Nessy Chic

Photo Credit: Messy Nessy Chic

Ariana Afghan Airlines’ flight attendants

Photo Credit: Messy Nessy Chic

Photo Credit: Messy Nessy Chic

Fashion designer Safia Tarzi in her Kabul studio

Photo Credit: Messy Nessy Chic

Photo Credit: Messy Nessy Chic

Afghan Girl Scouts

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan

Photo Credit: Visit Afghanistan