When we think about Afghanistan immediately we imagine the suffering that the country is subjected to since the ’70s, when the civil war and foreign troops occupied the land. Kabul and many other cities of this country were not always stage of tragedies as we know them now: in the ’60, likewise the rest of the world, these places were dealing with their own daily affairs.

ProfessorĀ Bill Podlich went to Afghanistan in 1967 with his wife Margaret and their daughters Jan and Peg. The reason behind this trip was Dr. Podlich’s desire of furthering his studies and mastering the principles of education, training course that he completed at the Teachers College of Kabul.

During that period the professor captured, with his camera, people and lifestyle in Afghanistan prior to the approaching war. A few years later Afghan people’s lives would have been affected drastically and indelibly.

Podlich documented a liberal country and a Western-like way of living. The guys were smiling, girls were going to school, women wearing miniskirts and families would enjoy the heat of the sunlights. Only a decade afterwards those same people would have started living the nightmare that it is still continuing to this day.

Doctor Podlich’s daughter, interviewed by the Denver Post declared:

“When I look at my father’s pictures, they remind me of a country with thousands of years of history behind as well as a vast culture. It is heartbreaking witnessing what they all had to go through in this war long almost 40 years.”

Above: Afghan girls coming home from school

“Afghan girls, just like boys, were educated up until Secondary School. Although girls and boys would wear uniforms, the females were not authorised to wear a chadaree (burqua) along the way towards the school. Women were fully allowed to access universities in same way men were”.

Below: Jan and Peg Podlich in the Paghman Gardens, destroyed duringĀ  the war before the American invasion of 2001

Below: an Afghan boy garnishing cakes

Below: Open-Air School

Below: a group of boys singing and drinking tea

Below: The American International School of Kabul (AISK), third English class. Peg Podlich is on the left. “I was in my final year of High School and I attended the AISK, in Darul-Aman”.

Below: at the market

Below: the colourful market of Kabul

Below: students on the Higher Teachers College of Kabul. Doctor Podlich, on behalf of the United Nations, taught Education, Science and Culture for 2 two years

Below: Afghan Artist

Below: men and children on the streets of Kabul

Below: some guys in the shadow of a tree

Below: some women on the street of the capital dressed up in a Western fashion

Below: young boys waving at the photographer

Below: Peg Podlich(wearing sunglasses on the right) on a bus with his family going from Kabul to Peshawar, Pakistan. Along some other Western travellers

Below: young students dancing in the schoolyard

Below: balloons in Kabul

All the pictures come from the Dr. Bill Podlich’s album and the taglines are written by himself

Matteo Rubboli

I am a publisher specialised in the digital distribution of culture and founder of the portal Vanilla Magazine. I don't wear a tie or branded clothes, I keep my hair short so I don't have to comb it. That's not my fault but just the way I've been drawn as...

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