Afghanistan, a country now drenched in war, under the control of brutal, blood-hungry ISIS/Taliban and a country that was once one of the most developed countries- now nowhere to be seen.
Filled with a rich history, a time when it was extremely well-developed and modern in that decade, the current story of Afghanistan is utterly sad. Good fortune and peace was Afghanistan’s best characteristic till terror and war embraced the borders of the country.
In 1967, Dr. Bill Podlich located in Afghanistan. His aim was to teach at the Higher Teachers College located in the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul. As safe as one could imagine, Podlich took his wife, Margaret, and two teenage daughters, Jan and Peg alongside.
While Podlich was there, he took a number of photographs, which the family shared with the world. In those images, you are able to see a liberal land and Westernized lifestyle, smiling boys, girls learning in classrooms, women wearing short skirts on a warm day. Knowing what Afghanistan looks like today, these all seems make-believe.
“When I look at my dad’s photos, I remember Afghanistan as a country with thousands of years of history and culture,” said Dr. Podlich’s daughter Peg, who attended the American International School of Kabul. “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.” Now, the happier times live on in photos.
Here’s what Afghanistan looked like back then:
Jan Podlich during a shopping trip in Istalif.
Afghani men out for a picnic.
Students at the Higher Teachers College of Kabul, where Dr. Podlich taught for two years with UNESCO.
Peg Podlich arriving in Kabul.
Parking lot of the American International School of Kabul.
Afghan girls coming home from school. Both Afghan boys and girls were educated until the high school level.
Sisters milling the streets of Kabul.
Picnic! Under The Trees.
A boy sells balloons by the river.
Peg Podlich on a trip from Kabul to Peshawar, Pakistan.
Young students in a playground.
An outdoor market selling a colorful variety of produce.
An Afghan boy decorating cakes.
Kabul Gorge, sometimes called Tang-i-Gharoo, connects Kabul with Jalalabad.
All Dressed Up.
These students do their work in a shaded outdoor classroom.
Men looking over Istalif, a centuries-old center for pottery.
Annual Exhibition Of Student Art Work.
The seasons’ change, and this winter crowd smiles for the camera.
A senior English class at the American International School of Kabul.
All images via Dr. Bill Podlich’s collection, which is now managed by his son-in-law Clayton Esterson.