I tend to think of Afghanistan as a place that time forgot, but it is actually worse than that–sadder, anyway. Before the political upheavals of the 1970s that culminated in the Soviet invasion, the country, or portions of it, had made considerable progress. Retronaut has an extraordinary collection of photos from the 1950s and 1960s; the pictures come from a book that was produced by Afghanistan’s planning ministry and salvaged by Mohammad Qayoumi, now the President of San Jose State University. The photos’ provenance is explained here.
Try to imagine this record shop in contemporary Kabul:
A maternity ward:
There are many more at the link. The photos are a reminder of what barbarians the Taliban and similar extremist groups are. One wonders when Afghanistan will be able to recover to the level it had achieved 50 years ago.