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Photos of 1960's Afghanistan reveal what life was really like before the Taliban

If we're asked to think about Afghanistan as it stands now, most of us will reply that it's a war-torn state, which still carries the remnants of an oppressive Taliban regime. It's common knowledge that not only were women banned from attending school and going to work but their bodies also became veritable commodities of the state - so fiercely were their dress and mobility impeded.

What such assertions fail to take into account, however, is that Afghanistan has a long and rich history prior to being overtaken by the Taliban. Certainly, its citizens enjoyed decades of liberal democracy and a decidedly Westernised lifestyle.

Back in the 60s and 70s, university professor Dr. Bill Podlich captured this part of Afghanistan's past when he travelled to Afghanistan in 1967 with his wife Margaret and his two teenage daughters. Aside from teaching at the Higher Teachers College of Kabul, Dr. Podlich also used a Kodachrome film camera to document his stay in the South Asian state.

Dr. Podlich's daughter Peg, who attended the American International School of Kabul, spoke to the Denver Post about the country's decline:

“When I look at my dad's photos, I remember Afghanistan as a country with thousands of years of history and culture [...] 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.”

And now, this Afghanistan is just confined to photographs, like Dr. Podlich's...

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alt Credit: Dr. Bill Podlich's Collection

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alt Credit: Dr. Bill Podlich's Collection

If you enjoyed these rare images, here are some never-before-seen pictures of Stalin's Russia taken by an American "spy".