Because Afghanistan figures so largely in the current American "War on Terror" and because of the totally unique culture of the country, Afghanistan has been the subject of a plethora of books.  Books on Afghanistan are like pictures of the country: it's hard to mess it up.  The country offers such an interesting backdrop that just about anything an author writes about seems to make a great story.  Some of the most famous books on the country are:

1)The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.  This is a beautiful, yet very sad novel about growing up in war-time Afghanistan.

2) An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan by Jason Elliot.  Probably the most vivid travel journal on the country, Jason Elliot puts into words amazing images, smells and sounds that are hard for most people to nail down.  After you read this, you'll definitely want to go to Afghanistan

3) Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden... by Steve Coll.  An incredible expose on the role of the CIA in building the current Al-Qaida network.  The book provides a balanced perspective, and is the best book on the recent history of the war in the country.

4) The Women of Herat by Veronica Doubleday.  This book, written in the 1970's, has become a classic since it gives a snapshot of the life of women in Afghanistan.   Surprisingly relevant even today, it is amazing how little has changed in the lives of women in Afghanistan in the past 30 years. 

5) Lonely Planet Afghanistan by Paul Clammer. The essential travel guide for the independent traveler, with ample security warnings.

6) A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.  A follow up book to his first book, this novel focuses on the life of women through the time of war.     

7) The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk.  An exciting book on the spies, explorers and adventurers that opened up Afghanistan to the outside world in the 1800's.