Afghanistan: Ancient Land with Modern Ways


Afghanistan: Ancient Land with Modern Ways was published by the Ministry of Planning of the Royal Government of Afghanistan in 1961 to provide, as stated in the foreword, a “panorama of the ‘Afghan Scene’—past and present.” The book portrays a dynamic, modernizing Afghanistan whose people and government are “determined to make up for lost time” after a long period, said to have begun early in the 19th century, when the country’s “fortunes fell on bad days” and in which “the hopes and aspirations of its people repeatedly found expression only in successive, costly and bloody wars for Independence.” The book is in both English and Pushto, and includes short, richly illustrated chapters on the geography, culture, history, people, social development, economy, government, and international affairs of the country. The emphasis is on development, including the construction of roads, airports, universities, bridges, and other forms of infrastructure, as well as education and the training of the workforce. Women are portrayed as active in society and in the economy, both as workers and consumers. The section on international affairs underlines Afghanistan’s status as a member of non-aligned group of nations, with photographs showing King Mohammed Zahir Shah, Prime Minister Mohammed Daoud, and Minister of External Affairs Sardar Mohammed Naim meeting with the leaders of China, Egypt, Turkey, the Soviet Union, the United States, and other countries. The book concludes: “The stress and strain of historical events have forged the people of Afghanistan into a united mass with a single purpose to eliminate the deficiencies of the present which we have inherited from the past. With cautious optimism Afghanistan looks forward toward its future with confidence.”

Last updated: March 23, 2017