When Afghanistan Had Hopes for the Future
British Defense Secretary Liam Fox called Afghanistan “a broken 13th-century country” when he visited it. His words drew fire on him. This happened not because he was wrong, but because he was way too blunt. Actually, Liam Fox wasn’t the first person to call Afghanistan a medieval country. There were people who labeled local inhabitants “barbarians with a 1200 A.D. mentality”. Many people really think that Afghanistan is an ungovernable land with chaos that would never make it out of the Middle Ages.
Still there were times when Afghanistan was a nice country where women could pursue careers in medicine, where people could go to the movies and work on the factories. This country used to produce many goods. It had a government that was able to undertake national infrastructure projects. People believed they had a future, but all their hopes were destroyed by 30 years of war.
Original caption: “Kabul University students changing classes. Enrollment has doubled in last four years.”The physical campus of Kabul University, pictured here, does not look very different today. But the people do. In the 1950s and ’60s, students wore Western-style clothing; young men and women interacted relatively freely. Today, women cover their heads and much of their bodies, even in Kabul. A half-century later, men and women inhabit much more separate worlds.
“Biology class, Kabul University.”In the 1950s and ’60s, women were able to pursue professional careers in fields such as medicine. Today, schools that educate women are a target for violence, even more so than five or six years ago.