Afghanistan 50 Years Ago (Part 2)

Khyber Pass

Further to my recent blog on Afghanistan, I have come across some more old photos of Pakistan and Afghanistan while sorting through the belongings of my mother, who sadly passed away recently.

Here are the Afghan pics from the period 1970-71. They are photos of slides projected on a wall so the resolution is not great but they have a certain vintage quality to them.

Jamil Hotel, Kabul 1970

The Jamil Hotel in Kabul. I don’t know if it is the same place but this is what Lonely Planet says about Jamil Hotel in its latest Kabul guide: ‘This hotel was popular with backpackers until recently, when the police banned it from accepting foreign guests. Rooms have en suite, and although there is sometimes a problem with the water, the management should keep you supplied with buckets.’ Fortunately my parents did not stay there!

Oops!

No sure if this is Afghanistan or Pakistan. Both had equally high incidence of traffic accidents due to overloading, poor maintenance, dangerous roads and lack of driver training.

Typical scenery.
Khyber Rifles

The Khyber Rifles was set up as an auxiliary unit of the British Indian Army to help control the lawless North West Frontier province. After independence, they became part of the Pakistan Army. This is their headquarters, Shagia Fort, near Ali Masjid in Pakistan, photographed by my parents on their way to Afghanistan via the Khyber Pass.

Salang Pass?

The average altitude of Afghanistan is around 4,000 ft but climbs to as much as 20,000 ft in the Hindu Kush mountain range. This looks like a mining or quarrying settlement. And yes, that’s snow in the distance.

Salang Tunnel

This is the anti-avalanche gallery at the approach to the Salang Tunnel cutting through the Hindu Kush mountains about 60 miles north of Kabul. At the time this photo was taken it was the highest road tunnel in the world at an altitude of 11,200 ft. It was built in 1964 by the Soviet Union as part of the Soviet-Afghan Friendship Treaty. It came in handy when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan fifteen years later. The date on the tunnel reads 1343 which corresponds to our 1964. Afghanistan, like Iran, uses the Solar Hijri calendar, unlike most other Muslim countries which recognise the Lunar Hijri calendar.

Kabul 1970.
Desolate mountains and fertile valley. Nice artistic photos by my Mum.

I’ll write something about Pakistan in my next post.

2 thoughts on “Afghanistan 50 Years Ago (Part 2)”

  1. Thanks for the second Afghanistan article, and the many evocative photos. Most interesting but evidently, from what we are to believe, much of a catastrophe now for the souls who live there. I am sorry to hear about the demise of your mother. It does mean that we benefit from a rummage through her papers and photos and that you have renewed memories from childhood days. Thank you again. I hope that happier times are ahead for you soon.

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