An attempt to reproduce this New York Times map of Afghanistan: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/09/29/world/asia/afghanistan-taliban-maps.html
It combines vector data and raster data to display the country’s borders and terrain (shaded relief). The vector data comes from Princeton University’s Empirical Studies of Conflict Project. The raster imagery used for shaded relief is from NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. Use Derek Watkins’ tool for selecting topographic map tiles.
Geographic data conversion is documented in the Makefile. It uses the GDAL library to convert the shapfiles to TopoJSON and reproject the raster images into the Mercator projection. You can run the entire processing script to see the intermediate files, or use the supplied JSON and PNG files for the final product.