Unlike India, Afghanistan was not really colonized in the 19th century andit was not occupied for more than a brief period by a Western power until the Russian invasion of 1979. This resulted in a rather different early photographic history and postcard publishing experience than is found in colonized Asian nations.
Most of the first photographers of Afghanistan were British, such as the Irish photographer John Burke
who accompanied British troops into Afghanistan during the Second Afghan War between 1878 and 1880. This was barely 30 years after photography was invented, but even so there were already Afghan photographers active at this early date - the possessions of an Afghan noblemen up for auction during this period in Peshawar include photographic apparatus. Nonetheless, few of these photographs survive and it is more often those taken by foreign photographers that have been kept in albums and archives outside Afghanistan.
The postcard publishing market during the early 20th century in Afghanistan was also apparently quite limited. Many early Afghan postcard images seem to have been published in Peshawar, then part of British India, by photographers and studios who had access to Afghanistan and Afghan visitors. By the 1920s, if not earlier, Afghan studios and publishers seem to have had cards printed primarily in France, which among European nations enjoyed a closer relationship culturally with Afghanistan. Postcard titles were often in French and Farsi or Dari.
The subject of early 20th century imagery in Afghanistan remains ripe for research. Without factors like European troops serving on tour in the country and large urban population centers, the production of imagery seems to have been much smaller. There are so many more vintage Indian
or even Burmese postcards
to be found today.