Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

Having seen the title of the post, many probably thought that it would be about a wild, backward, medieval country with even worse living conditions than now. But you are wrong. Some time ago, it was an absolutely different country. Afghan women made a career in medicine, went to the movies and studied at the universities of Kabul. Afghan factories produced fabrics and other goods. There was law and order and the government could implement such large infrastructure projects as the construction of hydroelectric plants and roads (though not without help from outside). Ordinary people had hope for the future… All this was destroyed by thirty years of war.

The campus of the University of Kabul has changed little since then. It’s people who have changed. In the 50s-60s, the students preferred Western style clothes, and the young people of both sexes could freely communicate with each other.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

Today, women hide their faces and a large part of their bodies, even in the capital. Only half a century later, men and women seem to live in different worlds.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

In the 50s-60s women could make careers in such fields as medicine. Today the schools providing education for women are the target of constant attacks.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

Previously education was highly valued. If you went to school and get good grades, you had a chance to get higher education or even to study abroad and become a part of the middle class. Today, people have become more cynical. They can’t see the connection between education and a better life. Instead, they see that those who managed to achieve power and wealth, did it by illegal means.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

This incubator at the hospital of Kabul is very different from those which can be found now.

Now, two premature children are kept in the same incubator and the hospital itself is short of equipment.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

In the 1960s, almost half of Afghanistan’s population had access to health care, now only few does. Today, hospitals are overcrowded, and one in four children doesn’t live till his fifth birthday.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

The Vaccine Production Center of Kabul in the 60s. Today, medical services are limited by several factors, one of them is lack of electricity. Less than 20% of Afghans have access to electricity, many homes are lit by oil lamps.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

In the past, the central government of Afghanistan implemented various programs directed at the development of rural life. One of them is shown in the photo: nurses were sent to remote villages to treat people from cholera. Nowadays, it would be simply impossible because of the problems with security. The governmental health workers are often attacked by the groups of gunmen who want to create disorder and terror in society.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

Formerly, there were Girl and Boy Scouts in Afghanistan. In the 50s-60s, such organizations were popular in the USA. The boys and girls of the primary and secondary schools learned about nature, camping and public safety.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

Some time ago it was possible to watch a Hollywood movie in this movie theater.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

This playground was always full of children with moms. Now it’s not save to be there anymore.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

Light industries, as this plant located on the outskirts of Kabul, once gave great hope for the Afghan economy. But now, how can one work without electricity?

Now there are only small workshops in Afghanistan and opium became its largest exported product.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

With the help of Germany, Afghanistan built its first hydroelectric power plant (pictured) in the early 50s. At that time it was considered a work of art. Now it still works, but, unfortunately, over the past eight years, the Afghan government hasn’t built any other power plants. The only finished governmental project is the expansion of the shipping line to Uzbekistan.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

A clothes factory. Some time ago, there was a feeling that Afghanistan had the bright future – its economy was booming.

Then the greater part of cotton processed in this factory was cultivated by hand. But 30 years of war destroyed both the industry and supply channel.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

Comparing with the 50s-60s, fewer women now work outside the home. Besides, they look much more conservative than what you can see in the picture.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

The radio of the 60s broadcast the world and local news, music programs, jokes, political debates and even children’s programs. Radio Kabul (whose old offices you can see in this photo) was launched in the 1930s.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

In today’s Afghanistan, there are a lot of private radio stations, satellite and television programs. However, the access to radio and television depends on electricity and that’s why their audience is limited. Only few families have generators at home.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

During the annual Independence Day of Afghanistan Kabul was lit up with lights for nine days in the 60s. Now it’s always dark at night. The streets are empty, the night life isn’t even mentioned.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

Boutiques used to be very common for the Kabul of 50s-60s.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

As well as music stores that brought the Afghan teenagers rhythms and energy of the music of the Western world.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

Today, furniture stores, like this one, are a real rarity. The greater part of furniture is made outside of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

Fruit markets seem the only thing that remained the same in modern Afghanistan.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

The level of education of the administration of Kabul is now much lower than 50 years ago. Then, most officials had master degrees or doctorates. The Western style clothes were the norm. Today, the meeting of the government in Kabul is held among men with long beards, in turbans and traditional dresses.

Afghanistan of the 50s-60s

The once strong and active defense forces of Afghanistan now faded in history. After the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan, Pakistan destroyed the armed forces of the country. The civil war of the 1990s, the constant pressure from the Taliban and the American intervention made the local security forces very difficult to organize, even considering that security remains the major concern of the country.

Now, it is hard to say exactly who is to blame for the decline of Afghanistan but we can say for sure that once a developing country is now destroyed almost completely.

via mr-svant

84 thoughts on “Afghanistan of the 50s-60s”

  1. Afghanistan was once a relatively civilized country. Destroyed now. No mention of the Russian Peace Keeping Mission that leveled the country and killed thousands. It is all the USA’s fault.

    • Seeing the Afghanistan of the past 30 years, it is hard to imagine it other than a corrupt, impoverished, bloody war-torn hell hole.
      WTF happened here? Even Islamists cannot prefer it this way.

    • Don’t be so sad about the “civilised” 50s and 60s afghan king and government artificially “imposed” civilisation on afghanis.just Kabul is the show case of progressive Afghanistan. R I P to civilisation in Afghanistan ! ! ! ! ! !
      they come back to the nature ! ! ! !

      • When you take away a secular government this is what you get. This is the end goal of Islamic extremist. A subsistance farming oligarchy that supresses women and free will.

      • YEH! I Satisfy your opinion, as my dad had a truck that time & along my Grnadpa he use to travel to Kabul through Ningarhar ,he told the same thing about afghan Shah of that time & talked about alien civilization impotrd by him to Kabul..

    • -“the USA has only been there the last couple of years”… You must be joking. The US has 10 years there, and before that, the US financed and armed the same crazy islamists while destroying what the soviets left… And then these maniacs attacked you. It’s very OK to fight back and finally crush your Frankenstein. It seems you only learned to read in the last couple of years. I hope you were sarcastic.

    • During the russian peace keeping mission the US supported islamic mujahadeen ‘freedom fighters’ who, after russian withdrawal, becam the taliban and turned afghanistan into the sorry state that we see now.

  2. این سرنوشت ملتی است که اراده خود را به دست بیگانگان بسپارد و افغانستان امرور دستاورد تجاوزات دشمنان خارجی است، عاراگران ، از بریتانیا پیر استعمار گرفته تا روسیه خونخوار و تا آمریکای جنایتکار

  3. I heard that Afghanistan use to be nice place and beautiful but I’ve never seen any older photographs of it until today. It’s beyond sad to compare these old photos to what it looks like today. Traditional dress and customs are important but there are somethings about the modern World which shouldn’t be shunned, like health care and education for all, yes, including women and girls.

  4. Afghanistan can be considered another victim of the Soviet-US power game. Before and after the destructive Soviet invasion; the latter US supported Pakistan intervention with US supported Taliban fanatics in the 90’s, that later turned against… you know the rest. Actual Russia and the US have responsibilities that both want to downplay and “forget”. The Afghans won’t.

    • You are blaming religion for those that use religion to twist people into doing their bidding. The tennants of most religions are alltruistic and good for humanity. It is those that use it as a political tool that should be blamed.

      • Yes. Any Religion can easily be used to control and repress people when the enviroment has been reduced to rubble by constant wars and hunger.

        • Conversely, religion has been responsible for some of man’s greatest achievements. Art, Literature, music, architecture, social structures and morals.

      • It doesn’t matter how much good relgion preaches, without religion those good things would still exist and happen, but the division it causes and justifies is only due to religion. There’s a good saying “A good man left to his own devices will do good things, an evil man left to his own devices will do evil things. But for a good man to do evil, that takes religion.”

  5. I believe russia’s attack influenced Afghanistan’s great future. i meant.. that they were first of its destroyers…

    • Soviet was there first to fight the Taliban requested by the Afghan government. While American supported the Taliban, whom eventually changed Afghanistan to an awful Islamic state now. Taliban is the first destroyer of Afghanistan, with American’s aid back then Taliban expansion has become worse.

      • Ahhh yes the USA is always the big destroyer…..It was really US T-72s that were destroying villages. It was really US MI-24s that were straffing anything that moved. It is amazing how all powerful the CIA is.

        • Russia’s invasion mayhem levelled the country; and US backed loonies killed its soul. Too bad these mind freaks won and turned against their former sponsor, the USA. Russia and the US share a place in this disaster, and haven’t learned nothing yet.

          • And what about the afghans? Don’t they share in the blame. You can’t consider a people that will stone someone to death for premarital sex, an innocent race.

            • The Aghans fought against the mullah fanatics for 40 years! Those who didn’t die fighting or didn’t escape, gave up everything for some sense of security (or mere survivial) amongst destruction. In Afghanistan, the so called clerics won. Get it? They destroyed the brains of the society. They still rule. They have the guns. You accept it or your surviving daughter dies. You’re unfair. The Afhgans have fought and died for decades against the crazed mullahs. And the now starving afghans will be left alone again with those monsters… or a puppet corrupt government. Well, now you see why any Religion is useful in war.

              • And by the way, the Al Quaeda nuts and Taliban were mostly FOREIGN arabs from “friendly” Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Jordan, and you already know that the US armed them for years. And won. Your ignorance can be offensive, even for your own casualties.

                • The biggest benefactor of the Taliban in the past and today is the Pakistani military. They made Afghanistan a sattelite state. They are the reason for the rise of the Taliban and why it still exists in the region today.

                  • Pakistan was (and is) your most important ally there. US relied hevily on that country’s supported dictators, then, and now. Blaming only Pakistan makes you look like a cornered spinner. Pakistan doesn’t move a finger in Afghanistan without US approval (as proved after 9/11). You know it. Come on, you’re not fooling anyone.

                    • Looking back at this comment saying Pakistan is the biggest ally of the US in the middle east must be quite funny.

                    • @Brian
                      What is funnier is that Pakistan is still your biggest ally there, even if the countless millions of pakistanis hate the US and the West.

                      Well, they hate anyone who is not pakistani.

            • I think that is the result of the USA’s active promotion of radical Islam, done to get them to fight the Rooskies with more vigor, I suppose. It has put that country back into the dark ages. I think the USA-Israel alliance wants to do the same wrt Iran. Iran now is a pretty refined country, very pleasant and cultured people. I.e., it is a very civilized country, better than the USA by far.

  6. Fantastic photos. Thank you.

    I don´t understand, however, why do you refer to “Western music” or “Western clothes”. The persons on the photos seen to be dressed as Russians in nthe 60`s. Music and clothes that comes from the West of Atlantic has always been garbage.

    • Gagarin! ! !don’t forget,in 50s and 60s there were no Russian culture na Russian music! ! !only just “party” culture and “party” music was existed.Great October socialist revolution wipe out all symbols of Russian culture.from Siberia to east Berlin and north Korea to Cuba all “revolutionaries” share same “Russian culture” ! ! ! ! !

  7. These were “westernized” times. The educated evolved classes that once existed in these places have been eliminated, exiled or killed and replaced by true islam with the ok of the west.

    • Those were socialist times. Afghan infrastructure shown in these pictures was largely built on aid received from the ussr.

  8. “Now, it is hard to say exactly who is to blame for the decline of Afghanistan”

    Not all that hard to answer…… = Islam

    • Ha, ha! The crazy radical Muslims and Taliban were supported and armed by the US for 15 years, and even before the Soviet Invasion. Nice to see how Russians and Americans compete to hide their guilt. Shame on both.

    • Wow! ! !your absolutely right.western “civilisation” is the civilisation of banking system.get credit and pay back till you die.Afghans are very clever to realise that their key to success is going back to nature ! ! ! !where every one struggle to survive and killing for survival.

  9. Sorry, but it’s not the wars that destroyed it. The war didn’t force women and men to segregate. The war didn’t force men to treat women like cattle.
    This sort of thing is caused by the lack of freedom and in this case, the oppressive cult of islam.

    • You have it totally up side down. You don’t know what long term slaughter and hunger make to people. They can accept any tyrant that offers them a sense stability, religious or not. It’s an old story. If you ignore it, you’ll repeat it again.

      • @Torq. You are right in what you say. However, at some point the people need to stand up for them selves. The problem in afghanistan is you have a stone age society that actually prefers to live that way. They don’t want to embrace modern ideas or behaviors. They want their women subjugated. They want to live by Sharia law. They like to see executions. They want to live with family and clan tribalism dictating their live.

        • Read what I wrote above. You still can’t imagine what can people give up from exhaustion, hunger and safety (survival). As said, it’s an old story you comfortably ignore. And you’ll repeat it again, and again… This time Religion was used by Tyrants to win. They did win and left culture and lots of (afghan) people dead before the WTC was targeted. No Hollywood endings there.

          • In other words, Afghan people fought and were defeated after a bloody war by your sponsored crazed mujeheddin, before they blasted NYC and the Pentagon. And now your Army is turning these insane loonies rich with Heroin trade to buy more guns. Nice plan.

            • First of all the Afghan people won with the help of the Mujeheddin. They drove out an invading army and a bankrupt soviet ideology. The fact of the matter is the Taliban was only one faction of the Mujeheddin. Also, Pakistan actively supported the Taliban (and still does) to a point where they were able to take power. So truly the rise of the Taliban has more to do with Pakistani support than anything the US did. Once Russia lost and was driven from Afghanistan with it’s tail between it’s legs, America lost interest in Afghanistan.

              • Pakistan supported the Taliban/mujaheddin because the US did. As US lost interest, the Paka kept supporting the Taliban until 2001. The rise of the Taliban has to do more with US interest first, using Pakistan to route out succesfully the soviets and later secular warlords who fought them. Spin all you want. The US government created a monster that hit home tragically. If you don’t like it, is your problem only. By spinning, you can’t change it.

    • Yes, for a long time, the demented mujaheddin had surface-to-air Stinger missiles, AR-15’s, RPG’s and tons of light and heavy ammo. Courtesy of the American taxpayer. Later, everything went wrong… Your government should choose its deranged friends better. And you, check your purse more frequently.

  10. What religious fanatics and terrorists have done to that country is shocking, and sadly it’s spreading to other countries.

  11. “Western clothing”? It is definitely Soviet clothing of the 60s. The american backed taliban were what turned the country to what it is.

  12. If I had to choose Soviet Communism or Taliban for Afghanistan, I’d go with the Soviets. (And I don’t agree with Soviet Communism at all!) It’s so hard to believe how far backwards Afghanistan has gone… and very sad.

  13. This was a very good post. Afghanistan wasn’t the hopeless medieval land it is now. The pics were made when the USSR helped (before the brutal soviet invasion in response to US backed religious nonsense guerrillas who where about to take power before, in the 70’s). They did eventually, after many deaths. And the US got its pipelines. The rest is History. These pics are now sad and unvelievable. And telling.

  14. Afghanistan destroyed due to free woman calture, it is reality the muslim nations who when ever adopted like that as it was before reolution of Afghanistan free culture could not stay long, now we see Afghanistan turning again to free culture and I am sure the day is near to go down this country again in fair, please be understand that Islam is a complete code of Life and without Islam no one can get success here and after death both. Thanks for your time

    • I don’t see how islam brings any fortune or success to muslim people, all I see is it attracks warmongers from across the world to use your own religion against you, so you kill one another for their interests… Religion always was and always will be a lever of control on peoples minds, it’s time to listen to your heart and logic to think on your own, only then will you find success in life.

    • @Abid

      “…Afghanistan destroyed due to free woman calture…”. Absurd.

      See, Islam has nothing to do with the habits of the people who happen to follow it.

      Habits like warmongering and yes, enslavement of women. Your culture is either very afraid of women, or your men are extremely insecure.

  15. Islam is a very advanced ideology that is meant to be a great leap forwards for third world/poor DNA genepools. If you read the Hadiths you cannot failt to notice how much sense they make because unlike the Bible it is not translated from Hebrew to Greek to Latin to English/French/German etc. The issue with muslim countries is greed, short sightedness, a lack of any coherent strategy and no infrastructure beyond baying at the moon. The Bible and the Torah were blue prints for selective breeding and founding of an improved culture where better families bred better members of society. Maybe if we come back in another 400 years muslim countries willbe quite different. Who knows?

  16. the clearest and most irrefutable example of INVOLUTION ever…. poor people who always suffer government’s shit

  17. Seems like someone is ignoring the previous 1000+ years. Just because there was a short period of relative prosperity doesn’t mean shit when you take into account how long everyone over there has been fighting each other. It’s a shit region of the world.

  18. I love it how Gagarin insists that the culture being shown is Soviet. Yet in the first photo is we see the album Porgy and Bess, presumably the version by the well known Russian composer Gerschwinsky. We also see all words rendered in the Roman alphabet, not the Cyrillic one – no CTEREO, just STEREO. Russia-lovers may well actually be stupid enough that they don’t just believe their own lies, but apparently expect others to believe them too. Exactly as stupid as religious types. And USA-lovers. *All of which* have fucked up Afghanistan.

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