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Customer Testimonial

"This tiny bookshop in Kabul is a monument to the strength and vision of one man": drop in for a visit, and pick up copies of books you would never have known existed.

The bookstore is packed from floor to ceiling with the most extensive range of English-language books available on Afghanistan, ranging from fiction to history to guidebooks to anthropological studies of the tribes that make up Afghanistan’s complex and often (not to say always) divided population.

Shah Muhammed Rais has survived the Taliban and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, preserving an amazing collection of books despite all odds: at one point he even hid over 10,000 books in attics across the city.

The result is this cosy little bookshop where it is possible to browse for hours among the enormous collection of titles: truly a masterpiece of a specialized bookshop.

It was here that I picked up my copy of A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, at the owner’s recommendation, as well as a collection of short stories by writers from Afghanistan, made available by the publishing and printing arm of Shah M Books, that I certainly would not have been able to find anywhere else. With courage and great fortitude, Shah Muhammed Rais, who often presides over the bookstore himself, has managed to preserve a treasure trove of information about this troubled and war-torn country.

And for those who never plan on setting foot in Kabul, Shah Muhammed can be contacted by email about orders at This is a business that is certainly worth supporting.

This article was written by Ray Nayler and published on August 24, 2007 on in the Afghanistan Travel section and is republished here with the author’s permission.
Ray Naylor can be contacted on: