Image - Mobile

1960’s Afghanistan In Kodachrome Film

Afghanistan before the conflicts

For many of our generation, we have grown up to think of Afghanistan as a war zone. For as long as I can personally remember, it’s been an area of conflict, destruction and disquietude. I recently stumbled across an article that featured imagery of Afghanistan from the 1960’s, by a Dr William Podlich. He and his family took a trip to Afghanistan during the 60’s, and he captured what I hadn’t even acknowledged existed. Afghanistan, before the conflict. I Guess that’s down to my own lack of learning.. Either way, the images below are something truly extraordinary, and I’m hoping it will leave you  as it’s left me; wanting to learn more.

Words and photo credits to the original at the Denver post.



“Peg Podlich (Right).
“I grew up in Tempe, AZ, and when my dad offered my younger sister, Jan, and me the chance to go with him and our mother to Afghanistan, I was excited about the opportunity. I would spend my senior year in high school in some exotic country, not in ordinary Tempe… Of course, there were loads of cultural differences between Arizona and Afghanistan, but I had very interesting and entertaining experiences. People always seemed friendly and helpful. I never got into any real difficulties or scrapes, even though I was a fairly clueless teenager!Times were more gentle back then.” – Peg Podlich.”
“Kabul Gorge or locally known as Tang-i-Gharoo which led to the Darae Maiee-Par (Flying Fish Valley). This is the highway which connects Kabul with the province city of Jalalabad. “
“Dr. Bill Podlich on a hillside in Kabul.
“My dad was a professor of Elementary Education, specializing in teaching Social Studies, at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona from 1949 until he retired in 1981. He had always said that since he had served in WWII (he trained soldiers against chemical warfare), he wanted to serve in the cause of peace. In 1967, he was hired by UNESCO as an Expert on Principles of Education, for a two-year stint in Kabul, Afghanistan at the Higher Teachers College. Throughout his adult life, because he was interested in social studies, whenever he traveled around (in Arizona, to Mexico and other places), he continued to take pictures. In Afghanistan he took half-frame color slides (on Kodachrome), and I believe he used a small Olympus camera.” – Peg Podlich.”
“According to UNESCO, “The cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley represent the artistic and religious developments which from the 1st to the 13th centuries characterized ancient Bakhtria, integrating various cultural influences into the Gandhara school of Buddhist art. The area contains numerous Buddhist monastic ensembles and sanctuaries, as well as fortified edifices from the Islamic period. The site is also testimony to the tragic destruction by the Taliban of the two standing Buddha statues, which shook the world in March 2001.””
“American International School of Kabul (AISK), Senior English class. Peg Podlich is on the left.
“I was in my senior year (my final year) of high school and I attended the American International School of Kabul out on Darul-aman Road. In Tempe, I had walked four blocks to school; in Kabul a school bus stopped outside our home. Jan and I ran out when the driver honked the horn. On the bus, we were supervised by Indian ladies, wearing saris of course, and were driven with about 20 kids back through Kabul, around the hill to the west side of town. ” – Peg Podlich”
“Hotel Intercontinental. The hotel has been attacked on and off since Soviet forces left in 1992, most recently by suicide bombers in June 2011. It is still in operation and was used by western journalists during the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.”
“Young students dancing to music on a school playground.”
“Students at the Higher Teachers College of Kabul where Dr. Podlich, the photographer, worked and taught for two year’s with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.”
“Afghan military band.”
“Afghan workers make a street repair in Kabul.”
“Masjid Shah-e-do Shamsheera in Kabul. “
“Parking lot of the American International School of Kabul. The school no longer exists, although alumni stay in touch through Facebook and hold reunions every few years at different cities around the U.S. The next reunion will be held in Boston in 2013.
“AISK’s last year was 1979, so the school had a 20 year history. AISK was located on the same campus that currently houses the American University of Afghanistan (on Darul-aman Rd in west Kabul). In 1967-68, there were about 250 students attending AISK and 18 graduating seniors.” – Peg Podlich”
“Sisters pose for a photograph in Kabul.”
“A group of young Afghans share tea and music.”
“A residential hillside in Kabul.
“For the year that I was in Kabul, my family lived in a house in Shari-Nau, up the road from the Shari-Nau Park. My parents had lived in Denver, Colorado in the 1940s. My mother would say that Kabul reminded her of Denver: about a mile in altitude, often sunny, with beautiful mountains in the distance.Ê I thought it seemed somewhat like Arizona because of the arid landscape and lack of rain. Since I was born here (in AZ), it was very easy for me to appreciate the stark beauty of the landscape there in Afghanistan.” – Peg Podlich.”
“(L-R) Jan and Peg Podlich at Paghman Gardens, which was destroyed during the years of war before the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.”
“The Salang Tunnel, located in Parwan province, is a link between northern and southern Afghanistan crossing the Hindu Kush mountain range under the difficult Salang Pass. The Soviet-built tunnel opened in 1964.”
“Gas Station.”
“Guard duty at the King’s Palace “
“Peg Podlich, in the sun glasses, taking a family trip on a bus going from Kabul, Afghanistan to Peshawar, Pakistan. “
“”In the spring of 1968,my family took a public, long-distance, Afghan bus through the Khyber Pass to visit Pakistan (Peshawar and Lahore).The road was rather bumpy in that direction, too. As I recall, it was somewhat harrowing at certain points with a steep drop off on one side and a mountain straight up on the other!Ê I remember that, before we left Kabul, my father paid for a young man to go around the bus with a smoking censor to bless the bus or ward off the evil eye. I guess it worked – we had a safe trip.” – Peg Podlich.”