30 Fascinating Photos Of 1960s Afghanistan

The peaceful hues of 1960s Afghanistan paint a far different picture of the country currently embroiled in corruption and struggle. In 1967, Arizona State University professor Dr. Bill Podlich and his family swapped the stark, sultry summers of Tempe, Arizona for the environs of Kabul, Afghanistan.

After serving in World War II, Podlich wanted to partake in a cause for peace, and for that reason he teamed up with UNESCO to work for two years at the Higher Teachers College of Kabul, Afghanistan. With him were his children, Jan and Peg, along with his wife Margaret.

When not building relationships with his Afghani cohorts, Podlich developed something else: his Kodachrome film, which captured a modernizing and peaceful Afghanistan that belies the harrowing images and thoughts associated with the war-torn country we see today. That is why, in Peg Podlich’s eyes, her father’s photos are so incredibly important. Says Podlich, these photos “can encourage folks to see Afghanistan and its people as they were and could be. It is important to know that we have more in common with people in other lands than what separates us.”

Prev Next 1 of 30
Picnic In Afghanistan In The 1960s

Afghani men out for a picnic.

1960s Afghanistan Photo

Peg Podlich on a trip from Kabul to Peshawar, Pakistan.

Kabul Afghanistan In The 1960s

Dr. Bill Podlich on a hillside in Kabul.

Buddha Statue In Afghanistan

A Buddha statue in Bamiyan Valley. In 2001, the Taliban destroyed the two largest ones.

Istalif In 1960s Afghanistan

Men looking over Istalif, a centuries-old center for pottery.

1960s Afghanistan

Men and boys enjoying the waters of the Kabul river.

Decorating Cakes

An Afghan boy decorating cakes.

Istalif Afghanistan In The 1960s

Jan Podlich during a shopping trip in Istalif.

1960s Afghanistan Photograph

A Senior English class at the American International School of Kabul.

School In 1960s Afghanistan

Young students in a playground.

Teachers College In Kabul

Students at the Higher Teachers College of Kabul where Dr. Podlich taught for two years with UNESCO.

Afghani Military Band 1960s

An Afghani military band.

Army Parade In Afghanistan

An Afghan Army parade through Kabul.

1960s Afghanistan 18

Afghan repairmen in Kabul.

Shah-Do Shamshira Mosque

Shah-Do Shamshira Mosque, built in the early 20th century under the reign of Amanullah Khan.

American International School In Kabul

Parking lot of the American International School of Kabul.

School In Afghanistan

A chemistry lesson in a mud-walled classroom.

Streets Of Kabul In 1960s Afghanistan

Sisters milling the streets of Kabul.

Bamiyan Valley 1960s Afghanistan

Afghanistan's Bamiyan Valley, home to numerous Buddhist monastic ensembles and sanctuaries as well as Islamic edifices.


A man preparing jilabee, a sweet dessert.

Kabul Hillside In The 1960s

A residential hillside in Kabul.

Photographs Of Afghanistan In 1960

Two Afghani men walking home.

Paghman Gardens In The 1960s

King's Hill in Paghman Gardens, constructed following Amanullah Khan's tour of Europe, India and Iran. Paghman soon became a chic holiday retreat filled with chalets, villas and gardens. These royal gardens were public, however in order to enter one had to don Western garb. At the tail end of the 20th century, though, Paghman converted into Mujahideen battleground and most everything has since been destroyed.

Salang Tunnel

The Soviet-built Salang Tunnel, which connects northern and southern Afghanistan.

Kabul Gas Station

A gas station in Kabul.

Girls In Afghanistan 1960s

Afghan girls coming home from school. Both Afghan boys and girls were educated until the high school level.

Teachers In Afghanistan

Two Afghan teachers at the Higher Teachers College.

Khyber Pass Afghanistan

A stop during the Podlich family's bus trip through the Khyber Pass.

Arriving In Kabul In The 1960s

Peg Podlich arriving in Kabul.

Like this gallery? Share it!

Thanks to the Denver Post for the images above. We also highly recommend watching this Vice series on life in Afghanistan since the American-led invasion:

If you enjoyed this post on 1960s Afghanistan, be sure to see All That Is Interesting’s posts on Syria after 4 years of civil war and staggering photos of abandoned Detroit. And before you leave, be sure to like All That Is Interesting on Facebook!

Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox is the Managing Editor of All That Is Interesting. She holds a Master's Degree in International Relations, and works as a reporter/producer for DNAinfo.
Like All That Is Interesting Get The Most Fascinating Content On The Web In Your Facebook Feed