Afghanistan is mostly known for the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden and for generally being an oppressive society for women and modern thinking.

But what if you got to know that there was a time when Afghanistan was slowly and gradually moving towards a more progressive and open-minded society that was inclusive of women?

And that it was the Soviet Union invasion, US invasion and the subsequent birth of Taliban that the war brought, that eventually created the Afghanistan we all see today.

Because yes, there was a time when women had much more freedom and rights than they do now, a time when burqas had almost become optional, women were studying, working and more before the war of 1979 when the Soviet Union took over the country.

These images give a good look at how life and fashion was before the wars that plunged Afghanistan into being a country where a rigid code of conduct is followed with little freedom for anything else.

In 1964, Afghanistan government created a new constitution that brought in modern democracy with equal rights, free elections, freedom of speech, universal suffrage, etc.

In 1978, the PDPA also banned burqas and raised the minimum age of marriage.

Females would attend university for a variety of subjects like medicine and technology without having to wear fully covering clothes.

This image was captured in 1962 of female students at the Faculty of Medicine in Kabul intently listening to what their professor is saying.

Afghanistan Fashion

Miniskirts and pants were often seen in the everyday wear of Afghan women although some still adhered to the traditional values of wearing a burqa.

Co-ed education was also seeing a rise with boys and girls being taught in the same class and in senior classes and universities, the opposite genders were even encouraged to interact with each other.

As per sources, by the 1960s more than half of the women in Kabul the capital of Afghanistan, were seen wearing western clothing with Afghan coats especially getting international recognition.

Even Vogue came and covered the fashion of the country in 1969 with their focus being on Kabul based designer Safia Tarzi who created a nice fusion of western and traditional and feminine and masculine fashion.

According to sources, Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in around 1979 and ruled it for about a decade which eventually led to the US finding its way over since all this was during the Cold War era.

It is said going by reports and news sites that CIA and US government supplied money and advanced weapons into the otherwise rural Afghanistan in order to provide support to mujahideen a kind of guerilla fighters.

It is also speculated that all this tension could have brought over Muslim idealists from other Arab countries that eventually helped to create the Islamist extremist groups like Taliban.

Although the Soviet Union eventually left the country by 1988, the damage had already been done and the Taliban took over in 1996. This lasted until US government invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 as part of their Operation Enduring Freedom.

This was a direct result of the 9/11 attack and the Taliban refusing to turn in Osama Bin Laden who was said to be behind the entire operation.

The fight against the Taliban group is still going on and as per sources as of 2017, there are about 10,000 US troops left in Afghanistan and the war entering its 16th year.


Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: CNN, The Atlantic, PBS + more


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