‘I wanted to end my life’: bookseller of Kabul rebuilds destroyed business

Shah Muhammad Rais was devastated when Taliban destroyed his shop, but now he is sending books to Afghanistan via the internet

Shah Muhammad Rais first opened his bookshop in the Afghan capital in 1974. By 2003, when his story was made famous by the bestselling novel the Bookseller of Kabul, the business had collected about 100,000 books, in different languages, about literature, history and politics. The collection included works of fiction and nonfiction, with everything from richly illustrated children’s tales to dense academic tomes.

After the Taliban stormed Kabul in 2021, Rais fled to the UK, telling the Guardian last year that he feared the group would destroy his cherished business. His fears came true.

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