Over at OTB Doug Mataconis links to a wonderful collection of photos that show a Kabul, Afghanistan actually joining the 20th century before the Soviet invasion.
Given the images people see on TV, many conclude Afghanistan never made it out of the Middle Ages,” writes Mohammad Qayoumi at Retronaut. “But that is not the Afghanistan I remember. I grew up in Kabul in the 1950s and ’60s. Stirred by the fact that news portrayals of the country’s history didn’t mesh with my own memories, I wanted to discover the truth.”Of course Kabul was an anomaly - even while Kabul was becoming a modern society the rest of Afghanistan remained a middle ages tribal society. There was there was the possibility that modernization could extend beyond Kabul but then the Russians invaded and attempted to occupy. The Russians failed but opened the door for the Taliban. The invasion and occupation of the US and NATO only reinforced the centuries old war between the Afghan people and the west. So western innervation in Afghanistan ha once again set the country back.
Qayoumi’s gallery of what the Graveyard of Empires looked like before it was brought into contemporary civilization by the Hippie Trail