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The physical campus of Kabul University, pictured here, does not look very different today. But the people do. In the 1950s and '60s, students wore liberal clothing; young men and women interacted relatively freely. Today, women cover their heads and much of their bodies, even in Kabul.

Biology class, Kabul University."
In the 1950s and '60s, women were able to pursue professional careers in fields such as medicine. Today, schools that educate women are a target for violence, even more so than five or six years ago



"Student nurses at Maternity Hospital, Kabul."
When I was growing up, education was valued and viewed as the great equalizer. If you went to school and achieved good grades, you'd have the chance to enter college

"Most hospitals give extensive post-natal care to young mothers."
This infant ward in a Kabul hospital in the 1960s

"A laboratory at the Vaccine Research Center."
Above is a vaccine research center attached to a Kabul hospital in the 1960s. Today, medical care across the country is limited by several factors, including lack of electricity. Less than 20 percent of Afghans have access to electricity; many homes are lit by kerosene lamps, with only fans running to combat the heat.


"Hundreds of Afghan youngsters take active part in Scout programs." with students in elementary and middle schools learning about nature trails, camping, and public safety.


"Park Cinema, like many others, provides the needed entertainment."
You could even see Hollywood movies there.


Mothers and children at a city playground."
a playground a few hundred yards away from the theater, where mothers used to take their children to play. Now, only men loiter in the city parks; it is unsafe to bring children outside.


"Skilled workers like these press operators are building new standards for themselves and their country." Light and medium industry, like this metal shop in the Kabul suburbs, once held great promise for Afghanistan's economy. But today, how could you run such an operation without ample electricity? Now there are only small shops, people who work at home -- no major industrial centers. Currently, Afghanistan's chief export is opium.


Gulbahar Textile Plant is one of the most modern in Asia."

Afghanistan did have medium and light industry, such as the textile factory pictured here. There was a sense then that Afghanistan had a bright future -- its economy was growing, its industry on par with other countries in the region. Back then, most of the cotton processed in a plant like this was grown locally. But three decades of war have destroyed industry and the supply chain

"Kabul is served by an up-to-date transportation system." Compared with the 1950s and '60s, fewer women work outside the home, and their outfits are much more conservative than what you see here


"Textile store window display."
Clothing boutiques like these were a familiar feature in Kabul


"Central control panel at Radio Kabul transmitter. Transmitter can be heard as far distant as South Africa and Indonesia." If you flipped through the radio dial in the 1960s, you would hear broadcasts of world news, local news, music programs, funny skits, political discourse, maybe an art program, a children's show. Radio Kabul, a state-run station whose old offices are pictured here, was launched in the 1930s


"Cabinet in session." The education level of Afghanistan's cabinet today is far less than it was 50 years ago, when this photo was taken. Back then, most high-ranking government officials would have had master's or doctoral degrees.

"Phonograph record store." So, too, were record stores, bringing the rhythm and energy to Kabul teenagers
 
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