L’Afghanistan sans tracas et rayonnant des années 60

Rembobinage de l’histoire, exit Ben Laden ou l’opium et retour en images au temps où l’Afghanistan ne rimait pas avec terrorisme et néant, en compagnie du Dr. Bill Podlich.

Un royaume à la vie paisible, des écoliers à la mine enjouée arpentant des rues où vans Volkswagen et expatriés n’étaient pas gage de rareté. De 1967 à 68, l’universitaire Bill Podlich a séjourné avec sa femme et ses enfants à Kaboul où il officiait en équipe avec l’UNESCO.

Durant son temps libre, cet humaniste d’Arizona et mordu de voyage, est allé capturer des instants de vie quotidienne des citoyens afghans, un album photos de pérégrinations sans prétention, prenant aujourd’hui l’allure de clichés d’archives rares d’un temps révolu.

Sa fille Peg alors scolarisée au sein de l’école internationale Américaine de la capitale était aux antipodes de se douter de la suite des événements… 33 ans de guerre et des ravages incurables. Aujourd’hui revoir ces photos reste d’une importance cruciale à ses yeux :

« À la vue des clichés de mon père, je me souviens encore que l’Afghanistan est un pays avec des milliers d’années d’histoire et de culture. »

Relayée par le Denver Post, la série photos du Dr Podlich a suscité un vent de réactions positives chez beaucoup d’afghans visiblement enthousiastes à l’idée de partager avec la nouvelle génération (née dans la guerre et le désarroi), ces moments de joie passée et de vie moderne d’un pays qui ne lâchera pas.

"Peg Podlich, in the sun glasses, taking a family trip on a bus going from Kabul, Afghanistan to Peshawar, Pakistan. "
« Peg Podlich, in the sun glasses, taking a family trip on a bus going from Kabul, Afghanistan to Peshawar, Pakistan. « 
"Guard duty at the King's Palace "
« Guard duty at the King’s Palace « 
"Gas Station."
« Gas Station. »
"(L-R) Jan and Peg Podlich at Paghman Gardens, which was destroyed during the years of war before the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan."
« (L-R) Jan and Peg Podlich at Paghman Gardens, which was destroyed during the years of war before the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. »
"The Salang Tunnel, located in Parwan province, is a link between northern and southern Afghanistan crossing the Hindu Kush mountain range under the difficult Salang Pass. The Soviet-built tunnel opened in 1964."
« The Salang Tunnel, located in Parwan province, is a link between northern and southern Afghanistan crossing the Hindu Kush mountain range under the difficult Salang Pass. The Soviet-built tunnel opened in 1964. »
"King's Hill in Paghman Gardens. "If you look at photos of the devastation of Europe or Asia after WWII and compare them with what you see nowadays or from pre-war times, you can get a similar feeling while looking at these photos from Afghanistan in the late 1960s... Perhaps looking at these old pictures when Afghanistan was a land of peace can encourage folks to see Afghanistan and its people as they were and could be. It is important to know that we have more in common with people in other lands than what separates us." - Peg Podlich"
« King’s Hill in Paghman Gardens.
« If you look at photos of the devastation of Europe or Asia after WWII and compare them with what you see nowadays or from pre-war times, you can get a similar feeling while looking at these photos from Afghanistan in the late 1960s… Perhaps looking at these old pictures when Afghanistan was a land of peace can encourage folks to see Afghanistan and its people as they were and could be. It is important to know that we have more in common with people in other lands than what separates us. » – Peg Podlich »
"A group of young Afghans share tea and music."
« A group of young Afghans share tea and music. »
"Sisters pose for a photograph in Kabul."
« Sisters pose for a photograph in Kabul. »
"Chemistry lesson in a mud-walled classroom. "
« Chemistry lesson in a mud-walled classroom. « 
"Parking lot of the American International School of Kabul. The school no longer exists, although alumni stay in touch through Facebook and hold reunions every few years at different cities around the U.S. The next reunion will be held in Boston in 2013. "AISK's last year was 1979, so the school had a 20 year history. AISK was located on the same campus that currently houses the American University of Afghanistan (on Darul-aman Rd in west Kabul). In 1967-68, there were about 250 students attending AISK and 18 graduating seniors." - Peg Podlich"
« Parking lot of the American International School of Kabul. The school no longer exists, although alumni stay in touch through Facebook and hold reunions every few years at different cities around the U.S. The next reunion will be held in Boston in 2013.
« AISK’s last year was 1979, so the school had a 20 year history. AISK was located on the same campus that currently houses the American University of Afghanistan (on Darul-aman Rd in west Kabul). In 1967-68, there were about 250 students attending AISK and 18 graduating seniors. » – Peg Podlich »
"Masjid Shah-e-do Shamsheera in Kabul. "
« Masjid Shah-e-do Shamsheera in Kabul. « 
"Afghan workers make a street repair in Kabul."
« Afghan workers make a street repair in Kabul. »
"Students at the Higher Teachers College of Kabul where Dr. Podlich, the photographer, worked and taught for two year's with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization."
« Students at the Higher Teachers College of Kabul where Dr. Podlich, the photographer, worked and taught for two year’s with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. »
"Young students dancing to music on a school playground."
« Young students dancing to music on a school playground. »
"Hotel Intercontinental. The hotel has been attacked on and off since Soviet forces left in 1992, most recently by suicide bombers in June 2011. It is still in operation and was used by western journalists during the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan."
« Hotel Intercontinental. The hotel has been attacked on and off since Soviet forces left in 1992, most recently by suicide bombers in June 2011. It is still in operation and was used by western journalists during the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan. »
"American International School of Kabul (AISK), Senior English class. Peg Podlich is on the left. "I was in my senior year (my final year) of high school and I attended the American International School of Kabul out on Darul-aman Road.Ê In Tempe, I had walked four blocks to school; in Kabul a school bus stopped outside our home. Jan and I ran out when the driver honked the horn. On the bus, we were supervised by Indian ladies, wearing saris of course, and were driven with about 20 kids back through Kabul, around the hill to the west side of town. " - Peg Podlich"
« American International School of Kabul (AISK), Senior English class. Peg Podlich is on the left.
« I was in my senior year (my final year) of high school and I attended the American International School of Kabul out on Darul-aman Road. In Tempe, I had walked four blocks to school; in Kabul a school bus stopped outside our home. Jan and I ran out when the driver honked the horn. On the bus, we were supervised by Indian ladies, wearing saris of course, and were driven with about 20 kids back through Kabul, around the hill to the west side of town.  » – Peg Podlich »
"Jan Podlich on a shopping trip in Istalif. Jan in a short, sleeveless dress and the woman to the right in a chadri (burka). We arrived in Kabul one sunshiny morning in June... My dad met us and was able to whisk us through the customs. We proceeded into Kabul in a UN ÒkombiÓ (kind of an old school SUV). I was tired, but I can remember being amazed at the sight of colorful (dark blue, green and maroon) ÒghostsÓ that were wafting along the side of the road. My dad explained there were women underneath those chadris, and that some women had to wear them out in public. We never called the garments Òburkas.Ó Depending on the country, women practicing purdah (Islamic custom requiring women to cover up) wear different styles of coverings, which have different names." - Peg Podlich. "
« Jan Podlich on a shopping trip in Istalif. Jan in a short, sleeveless dress and the woman to the right in a chadri (burka).
We arrived in Kabul one sunshiny morning in June… My dad met us and was able to whisk us through the customs. We proceeded into Kabul in a UN kombi (kind of an old school SUV). I was tired, but I can remember being amazed at the sight of colorful (dark blue, green and maroon) ghosts that were wafting along the side of the road. My dad explained there were women underneath those chadris, and that some women had to wear them out in public. We never called the garments Òburkas.Ó Depending on the country, women practicing purdah (Islamic custom requiring women to cover up) wear different styles of coverings, which have different names. » – Peg Podlich.

"An Afghan boy decorates cakes. "
« An Afghan boy decorates cakes. « 
Young men cooking kebabs. "... Don't get me started about the smell and taste of lamb kebobs straight from the brazier!Ê Yum!Ê We had a naan oven not so far from the house.Ê That was completely fascinating to watch the baker shape the naan, make slits in it with his fingers, pick up a stick and - in a quick, smooth motion -Êpick up the dough, bend over the hole in the top of the ovenÊand plunk the naan smack dab on the side wall of the oven.ÊAfter the correct number of minutes, he would reach in and tug the baked bread off the wall with the same stick and pull it right out.Ê During that operation, he did not getÊburned by the fire, blazing away on the floor in the center of the oven.Ê It was almost like a seated dance, really; the movements were that graceful." - Peg Podlich
Young men cooking kebabs. « … Don’t get me started about the smell and taste of lamb kebobs straight from the brazier!Yum!Ê We had a naan oven not so far from the house. That was completely fascinating to watch the baker shape the naan, make slits in it with his fingers, pick up a stick and – in a quick, smooth motion -pick up the dough, bend over the hole in the top of the oven and plunk the naan smack dab on the side wall of the oven. After the correct number of minutes, he would reach in and tug the baked bread off the wall with the same stick and pull it right out. During that operation, he did not getÊburned by the fire, blazing away on the floor in the center of the oven.Ê It was almost like a seated dance, really; the movements were that graceful. » – Peg Podlich
"Dr. Bill Podlich on a hillside in Kabul. "My dad was a professor of Elementary Education, specializing in teaching Social Studies, at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona from 1949 until he retired in 1981. He had always said that since he had served in WWII (he trained soldiers against chemical warfare), he wanted to serve in the cause of peace. In 1967, he was hired by UNESCO as an Expert on Principles of Education, for a two-year stint in Kabul, Afghanistan at the Higher TeachersÕ College. Throughout his adult life, because he was interested in social studies, whenever he traveled around (in Arizona, to Mexico and other places), he continued to take pictures. In Afghanistan he took half-frame color slides (on Kodachrome), and I believe he used a small Olympus camera." - Peg Podlich."
« Dr. Bill Podlich on a hillside in Kabul.
« My dad was a professor of Elementary Education, specializing in teaching Social Studies, at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona from 1949 until he retired in 1981. He had always said that since he had served in WWII (he trained soldiers against chemical warfare), he wanted to serve in the cause of peace. In 1967, he was hired by UNESCO as an Expert on Principles of Education, for a two-year stint in Kabul, Afghanistan at the Higher Teachers College. Throughout his adult life, because he was interested in social studies, whenever he traveled around (in Arizona, to Mexico and other places), he continued to take pictures. In Afghanistan he took half-frame color slides (on Kodachrome), and I believe he used a small Olympus camera. » – Peg Podlich. »
"Kabul Gorge or locally known as Tang-i-Gharoo which led to the Darae Maiee-Par (Flying Fish Valley). This is the highway which connects Kabul with the province city of Jalalabad. "
« Kabul Gorge or locally known as Tang-i-Gharoo which led to the Darae Maiee-Par (Flying Fish Valley). This is the highway which connects Kabul with the province city of Jalalabad. « 
""In the spring of 1968,Êmy familyÊtook a public, long-distance, Afghan bus through the Khyber Pass to visit Pakistan (Peshawar and Lahore).Ê The road was rather bumpy in that direction, too.Ê As I recall, it was somewhat harrowing at certain points with a steep drop off on one side and a mountain straight up on the other!Ê I remember that, before we left Kabul,Êmy father paid for a young man to go around the bus with a smoking censor to bless the bus or ward off the evil eye.Ê I guess it worked - we had a safe trip." - Peg Podlich."
«  »In the spring of 1968, my family took a public, long-distance, Afghan bus through the Khyber Pass to visit Pakistan (Peshawar and Lahore). The road was rather bumpy in that direction, too. As I recall, it was somewhat harrowing at certain points with a steep drop off on one side and a mountain straight up on the other!Ê I remember that, before we left Kabul, my father paid for a young man to go around the bus with a smoking censor to bless the bus or ward off the evil eye.Ê I guess it worked – we had a safe trip. » – Peg Podlich. »
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