April 23, 2014

Afghanistan Before Civil Wars, Remembering 1960s

Photo Gallery28 PhotosBy Khushnood Nabizada - Sat Feb 09 2013, 1:14 pm

Masjid Shah-e-do Shamsheera in Kabul.In 1967, Dr. William Podlich took a two-year leave of absence from teaching at Arizona State University and began a stint with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to teach in the Higher Teachers College in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he served as the “Expert on Principles of Education.” His wife Margaret and two daughters, Peg and Jan, came with him. Then teenagers, the Podlich sisters attended high school at the American International School of Kabul, which catered to the children of American and other foreigners living and working in the country.

Outside of higher education, Dr. Podlich was a prolific amateur photographer and he documented his family’s experience and daily life in Kabul, rendering frame after frame of a serene, idyllic Afghanistan. Only about a decade before the 1979 Soviet invasion, Dr. Podlich and his family experienced a thriving, modernizing country. These images, taken from 1967-68, show a stark contrast to the war torn scenes associated with Afghanistan today.

“When I look at my dad’s photos, I remember Afghanistan as a country with thousands of years of history and culture,” recalls Peg Podlich. “It has been a gut-wrenching experience to watch and hear about the profound suffering, which has occurred in Afghanistan during the battles of war for nearly 40 years. Fierce and proud yet fun loving people have been beaten down by terrible forces.”

More of Dr. Podlich’s images are available on a website maintained by Peg’s husband Clayton Esterson. “I have taken on the role as family archivist and when Bill Podlich gave us his extensive slide collection, I immediately recognized the historical significance of the pictures.” says Esterson. “Many Afghans have written comments [on the website] showing their appreciation for the photographs that show what their country was like before 33 years of war. This makes the effort to digitize and restore these photographs worthwhile.”

Photo Gallery

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2 Comments

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  1. All Afghan youth must get along togather regardless of tribes, race, nationality, religion and so on… to rebuild thier country and bring real change. The above photos shows the stutus of our country 33 years before civil war which is absolutely uncompareable with now!

  2. These photos are beautiful…compared to how the country looks now some 45 years later. I would love to return to Afghanistan and assist in rebuilding, helping Afghans reclaim economic stability. Unfortunately with no SOFA or BSA, I’d fear for my life, especially after hearing your President has been attempting back door peace negotiation with Taliban and reading about women’s rights there turning negative again. It seems you President cares more about his legacy than common human rights. There is no way I could work there and help Afghans with reconstruction, when fearing for my life. So the big problem for everyone is security and safety. This is the reason Afghans are attempting to flee Afghanistan, speaking of Translators who helped the coalition forces. This basic need for security ties everyone who wants peace together.

    It sure would be nice if Afghanistan could look this nice again. I think it can with new President in charge. still Karzai should give up futile effort to make peace with Taliban when he has to give up human rights to achieve it. He or an appointed Afghan government person should sign long term peace agreements so all Afghan’s can feel protected. this is what good President who cares about his people would do.

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