The Haunting Faces Of Afghanistan

August 11, 2013
Faces Of Afghanistan Chris Macgregor

Private Chris MacGregor, 24

For many, the Afghanistan War has been a thirteen-year quagmire; an ill-advised, reactionary invasion by the American government immediately following the September 11, 2001 attacks. In modern memory, though, Afghanistan has been plagued with all sorts of political unrest beginning soon after World War II. Rejecting Western influence following years of British colonial rule, Afghanistan soon allied itself with its neighbor, the USSR, in the form of its receiving financial and political aid. An early 1970s famine that claimed the lives of over 500,000 civilians popularized the communist party in the eyes of many Afghans, as they viewed the party’s new platform as a sign of hope in an otherwise devastated state.

However, as Afghanistan’s new president brought with him social reforms deemed too liberal–and Western–for traditional Islamic practices, Afghanistan’s decisive rejections and reactions led the Soviet Union to intervene once more. Some are sure to remember the prophetic military failure of the Soviet-led Afghan Communists throughout the 1980’s, when the United States supported and supplied the very militants they would depose a little over a decade later. Amid a state destroyed, cultural institutions in ruins, and countless lives tragically lost–and all due to the intervention of a foreign power–many Afghans sought a return to what they knew, thus giving way to Taliban rule that would eventually support Osama Bin Laden’s vendetta against the United States. The rest, as they say, is history.

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30 Fascinating Photos Of 1960s Afghanistan

August 9, 2013

The peaceful hues of 1960s Afghanistan paint a far different picture of the country embroiled with 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 developing relationships with his Afghani cohorts, Podlich developed his Kodachrome film, capturing 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.”

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Paghman Gardens Afghanistan

The Podlich sisters in the Paghman Gardens.

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.

If you enjoyed this post on 1960s Afghanistan, be sure to see All That Is Interesting’s posts on the haunting faces of Afghanistan and staggering photos of abandoned Detroit! And before you leave, be sure to like the PBH Network on Facebook!

A Woman, Mutilated

July 24, 2013
Afghan Woman Mutilated By Taliban

Source: CNN

When most think of the possible punishments for running away, the worst many of us can imagine is receiving the silent treatment from the person or people abandoned. But for one unfortunate Afghani woman, that punishment entailed nothing short of having her ears and nose lopped off by the Taliban. Thanks to an American humanitarian group, Aesha (the woman featured) can mask her wounds with a prosthetic nose, but the oppressive mark the Taliban has left on many women will be hard for many others to overcome.

Kabul’s Not-So Glamorous Hills

December 27, 2012
Kabul Afghanistan

Source: The Atlantic,

Taken in Kabul in October 2012, a staggering one third of individuals living in Afghanistan fall below the poverty line and even more are at risk of falling into it.

A Fascinating Look Into Afghanistan

December 16, 2012

Many people see footage of Afghanistan only from news clips on the screens of their TVs. What you don’t see, however, is the natural beauty and splendor that can be found daily in a country seemingly permanently embroiled within struggle.

Paghman Gardens In Afghanistan – 1967 To 2007

January 21, 2011

Paghman Gardens In Afghanistan 1967 To 2007 Photograph

The photograph above depicts the change in Paghman Gardens — once a popular park on the outskirts of Kabul in Afghanistan — from 1967 to 2007. For more of Afghanistan, check out our fantastic gallery of 1960s Afghanistan!