Once Upon a Time in Afghanistan…

THE CITIZEN BUREAU
Friday, November 21,2014

NEW DELHI: Afghanistan, presently, is one of the most challenging places in the world to be a woman. 85 percent of the country’s women have no formal education, life expectancy is a low 51, and violence against women in the country is on the rise, having peaked in 2013 according to the Independent Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan (AIHRC).

Although in recent years, there have been significant developments improving the condition of women in the war-torn country -- such as the 2009 Elimination of Violence against Women Act (EVAW), the country continues to face several challenges in terms of women’s rights and safety, including challenges pertaining to the implementation of EVAW. The UN in 2012 made 71 recommendations to improve the implementation of the law, but in a subsequent report found that only four of its proposals were had been implemented.

In fact, UN Women chief Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, has described violence against women in Afghanistan as “pandemic” with 87.2 percent of women experiencing some form of physical, psychological, sexual, economic or social violence.

However, Afghanistan was not always such a repressive country. Photographs from the 1950s and 60s depict a very different Afghanistan; one where female students sat next to their male peers, where girls scouts worked along with boy scouts, where, in parks and playgrounds, buses and record stores, hospitals and schools, women were seen in equal numbers as men.

These collection of images offer a rare insight into Afghanistan’s past.


(Phonograph record store in Kabul. Image credit: Facebook page: Afghanistan Is Beautiful).


(Women in the Faculty of Medicine, Kabul University. Image credit: “Afghanistan: Cockpit in High Asia, 1966,” by Peter King)


(Afghan school girls. Image credit: Dr. William Podlich)


(Students at the Higher Teachers College of Kabul. Image credit: Dr. William Podlich )


(A vaccine research center attached to a Kabul hospital in the 1960s. Image credit: Facebook page: Afghanistan Is Beautiful).


(Afghan girl scouts pictured in the 19
50s or 60s. Image credit: Facebook page: Afghanistan Is Beautiful).


(A school playground. Image credit: Dr William Podlich)


(Student nurses at Maternity Hospital, Kabul. Image credit: Facebook page: Afghanistan Is Beautiful).


(Tourists at a park in Kabul. Image credit: Dr William Podlich)

 


(Biology class during the late 1950s or early 1960s. Kabul Uni. Image credit: Wikipedia)


(Image credit: Dr William Podlich)


(Men and women entering a public transport bus in the 1950s. Image credit: Wikipedia)


(Two Afghan medicine students listening to their professor (at right) at the Faculty of Medicine, Kabul. Image credit: AFP/Getty)


(Kabul Medical University late 1970's. Image credit: Facebook page: Once Upon A Time In Afghanistan)


(Afghan ladies at Kabul Airport. Image credit: Facebook page: Once Upon A Time In Afghanistan)


(Afghan women singers. Image credit: Facebook page: Once Upon A Time In Afghanistan)


(Image credit: Facebook page: Once Upon A Time In Afghanistan)


(Kabul University Students -- a mix of men and women -- at graduation in the 1960s. Image credit: Facebook page: Once Upon A Time In Afghanistan)


(Afghan women in the 1960s. Image credit: Facebook page: Afghanistan Is Beautiful).



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