These images give us a glimpse of how Afghanistan looked like not more than 50 years ago, a period that has seemingly lost its way through time.
We’re just simply at awe with these photographs of Afghanistan taken between the ’40s and the ’80s, a far cry from the conservative, war-torn reputation that it has held for the last 30 years or so. Just how different things were before? To put things in perspective, we have this quote from an article on Foreign Policy by Mohammad Qayoumi, an Afghan-native who grew up in the capital Kabul in the ’50s and ’60s:
A half-century ago, Afghan women pursued careers in medicine; men and women mingled casually at movie theaters and university campuses in Kabul; factories in the suburbs churned out textiles and other goods. There was a tradition of law and order, and a government capable of undertaking large national infrastructure projects, like building hydropower stations and roads, albeit with outside help. Ordinary people had a sense of hope, a belief that education could open opportunities for all, a conviction that a bright future lay ahead. All that has been destroyed by three decades of war, but it was real.
Indeed, we wouldn’t be surprised if you’d have thought that these images were taken at another country altogether – people donned current fashion; foreigners and locals, men and women interacted freely; and, perhaps most remarkably, women attended college and even pursued professional careers. There’s just this sense of amazement seeing these photos that look just like any taken from the same period at another city, followed by regret soon after knowing what had happened to the country in the few decades that followed.
All information in this article were sourced from Messy Nessy Chic and Foreign Policy. All photos in this article were sourced from Messy Nessy Chic, which cited Mohammad Qayoumi and photographer Farid Dastad as its sources.