This is what Afghanistan was like before the Taliban seized power in the 1990s and imposed Sharia law

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Even if Afghanistan It was never an idyllic and egalitarian country, it did have better times than under the control of the Taliban. The Asian country became the quintessential hippie destination during the 1970s and approved women’s suffrage before the United States. Before the arrival of the Taliban, the women they could dress however they wanted without fear of being punished or vilified, they could vote and they could even study in colleges and universities. Today, supported by Sharia law, practically the entire female population of Afghanistan is illiterate, they only wear a burqa when they leave home and their opinion does not count in the private or public sphere. They cannot work, except for a few medical students who are in charge of treating the women, and they cannot do anything without their “mahram”, the man in charge of them, allowing it.

The radical Islamist ideology The Taliban already transformed Afghanistan during the 1990s, in such a way that comparing photographs taken in the 1960s and 1970s with photographs taken in the 1990s, they appear to be two totally different countries. In 1967, the doctor William Podlich He obtained a two-year permit from Arizona State University where he was working to relocate to Afghanistan. There he carried out his teaching activity at the Higher School of Teachers in Kabul. His photographs show an Afghanistan totally different from what it is today:

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A woman shops in a market in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, in the 1970s. Photo: William Podlich

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The photographer’s wife, with sunglasses in front, in a bus with men and women. Photo: William Podlich

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A group of Afghan girls are coming home from school. Photo: William Podlich

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Boys and girls study in the same classroom in Afghanistan, before the arrival of the Taliban. Photo: William Podlich

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Two skimpy-clad women enjoy the good weather in a Kabul park in the 1970s. Photo: William Podlich

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An unveiled girl holds a boy by her brother in a market in Kabul. Photo: William Podlich

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A group of men on the outskirts of Kabul dressed in different clothes in the fashion of the 70’s. Photo: William Podlich

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Late-model cars in Afghanistan during the 1970s. Photo: William Podlich

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A group of women arrive at the University of Kabul. Photo: William Podlich

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A group of women in a school. Photo: William Podlich

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