Few nations have faced turmoil like Afghanistan. From a disastrous Soviet occupation to an even bloodier civil war to an imposition of a strict variant of Islamic law to a western invasion…oh, what turbulent times.
But it wasn’t always that way. Let’s rewind a century to the Roaring 20’s. In 1919 Afghanistan gained independence from the United Kingdom. Like Baghdad, Iraq (which did not gain independence from Great Britain until 1932) Kabul became a melting pot of east and west. British-influence remained, but Afghanis further developed their own culture, architecture, and landscaping that made cities like Kabul fascinating…and safe…destinations in the 1920s.
The Daily Mail recently featured dozens of photos of 1920’s Afghanistan. You can view them here and it is worth a few minutes of your time.
Quite a difference than my own trip to Afghanistan (read the full trip report below).
We see that countries change, cities change, and people change. Visit Kabul today and most women will be fully covered in chadri (burqa) and carefully manicured gardens and tree-lined boulevards have been replaced with dirt and debris. The Darul Aman Palace is ridden with bullet holes and is in a state of utter disrepair. But there is still beauty, like in the Garden of Babur, pictured below.
As the U.S. prepares to pull more troops from Afghanistan, we’re left with the same Afghanistan dilemma I wrote about in 2013.
Afghanistan is on my mind today. Will it ever be beautiful again? Or it is beautiful now, just in a very different way than the 1920s?
Read more of my Saudi Arabia + Afghanistan Trip Report–
- Introduction: A Journey to Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan
- How to Obtain a Saudi Arabian Transit Visa
- New York JFK to Jeddah in Saudia Economy Class
- Review: Park Hyatt Jeddah
- Pictures from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- Jeddah to Dubai in Saudia Economy Class
- Dubai to Kabul on Ariana Afghan Airlines
- Arrival in Afghanistan
- The Panjshir Valley of Afghanistan
- My Hotel, er Compound, in Kabul, Afghanistan
- Kabul – TV Tower Hill and Darul Aman Palace
- Kabul – National Museum of Afghanistan
- Kabul – Gardens of Babur and Kart-e Sakhi Mosque
- Kabul – The Green Zone and British Cemetery
- Kabul International Airport and Departing Afghanistan
- The Afghanistan Dilemma
- Kabul to Dubai on flydubai
- Dubai to New York via Jeddah in Saudia Economy Class