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Donating Books for a Library in Kabul

This post is not about science fiction. Or is it? How out of this world is a 47 country NATO force in Afghanistan, situated at Northern Kabul Airport, working to bring about not only security, but assisting with education, governance and overall development?

Throw in a couple of nanotech induced zombies, and it could be a scene right out of Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry.

But it is real. And I’m here to pimp for books. For my friend and San Antonio homeboy, Vincent Yznaga, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army, Infantry (the mah-ve-lous looking young man in the plane on the way to Kabul). Veteran of tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and my Halloween parties, before he got smart and joined the Army. I am asking for your help to send books to Vince and his NATO force at the address included after the jump. I’ve included a note Vince sent me that describes the work they are doing with the Afghanistani people and government.

We already have books being shipped from a diverse group of friends and colleagues, including authors (Paul Levinson is sending books, as is Robert Flynn , who wanted to make sure the Army knew it was coming from a Marine), the Texas State Historical Association (who we are working with converting some of their excellent history books to eBooks), the Yang Martial Arts Association (YMAA)(excellent martial arts instructional books and fiction) and friends. Read more below, and even you biblioholics like me (I’ve sent copies of my books and many others) and John D. will be sending a book or two to Kabul.

I’ve known Vince since he was a short skinny kid in San Antonio. Now he is a strong and excellent representative of the United States and the world via his work with NATO and has finished several tours in Iraq, a tour in Africa coordinating forces in different countries and is in Afghanistan. In Iraq, he worked with the Iraqi police force to make the self-sufficient; in Africa, he worked coordinating a multi-nation force; in Kabul, as you can see from his note below, he is working not only security, but to help the people to get their schools, economy and government thriving again.

The note below from Vince describes what they do:

The International Security Assistance Force Joint Command (IJC) is a 47 Nation Headquarters. We are the organization that is responsible for assisting with development across the provincial level of Afghanistan. We coordinate with the Government of Afghanistan to assist them in developing the capacity to care for the people of Afghanistan. Assisting with the expansion of Governance so the Afghan people are connected not only to the Central Government, but the local village and province where representatives should represent their people to the central government. Last week we worked with the Minister of Education to ensure over 8 million school books would be delivered to the provinces and districts across the country. We work not only the security situation, but governance and development with the end state of the Afghanistan Government serving the people of their country and the International community continuing to assist in these efforts till they can stand on their own. I work in the Staff of this International Joint Command as an Activity Synchronizer, ensuring our efforts are coordinated and there is no duplication of effort. Very different from my last job in Iraq where I was a mentor to an Iraqi Infantry Battalion and patrolled with my Iraqi partners the streets of Eastern Baghdad and Sadr City. The soldiers work hard at this headquarters from about 7 each morning till about 10 each night sometimes much later. Others are on a 12 hour shift for the year sitting in an operations center which monitors activity across the entire Country of Afghanistan. When they have time off, there is not much here as this is a fairly new base, and NATO funds this location, so not a lot of US Dollars goes into this Forward Operating Base (FOB) which sits at North Kabul International Airport (N-KAIA).

I asked if they could receive eBooks, but their Internet access in Kabul is tenuous at best.

If you have books to send, you can send them to the address below, and please let me know if you do (either contact me through SF Signal or comment on this post) so I can alert Vince and keep track. Sending to an APO from the U.S. is inexpensive and easy; for those of you reading this outside of the U.S., I apologize for not knowing the rules and rates for sending books in this manner. If you do not want or cannot send them yourself, contact me and I will send them with one of my shipments.

Vincent Yznaga



APO, AE 09320

If you would like (as I am doing), writing a note in your books to the men and women there would be excellent and most certainly appreciated.

Thanks very much for your consideration and help. We now return you to our regularly scheduled science fiction excellence, and thanks to John D. and JP for letting me borrow the podium.

About Larry Ketchersid (55 Articles)
Author of two novels (Dusk Before the Dawn, Software by the Kilo) and one volume of non-fiction stories. CEO of a security software and services company; co-owner of JoSara MeDia, publisher of iPad apps, print and eBooks. Runner, traveler, Sharks fan, Rockets fan, Packers shareholder.

9 Comments on Donating Books for a Library in Kabul

  1. Can I assume that this is an on-going thing, or is there a deadline?  There’s a huge book sale thing in October where I live and I’ll be able to buy a good selection of books there that I can send to the troops.  That way I’m hitting two birds with one stone:  raising money for local libraries and giving our troops something to read.

  2. gamerlibrarian // August 19, 2010 at 5:05 pm //

    Have you sent this on to Baen Books? I believe that they have donated to military libraries in the past.


    They did donate to the navy:

  3. Larry, you’re the best, thanks so much for setting this up.  One thing that Vince asked of us is to NOT put his rank on anything you send to his APO address. Thanks again & we’ll see you soon.

  4. @SMD Shaun, they will be there for quite a while, so no deadline. Thanks!

    @gamerlibrarian: thanks for the tip.

    @LouisY: your bro looks mah-ve-lous in the photo, don’t he?

    Thanks very much to everyone who is shipping books, the response has been excellent. I’ve told Vince to go order more shelves!


  5. When i was in Iraq a few years ago, the camp library was a godsend. It kept away the boredom during the slow times.


    Some tips to whoever is thinking of sending over books:

    1. Don’t send the rare limited edition signed stuff. These men/women just want reading material. Your book will get used, abused, and crammed in boxes and bags when they have to leave.

    2. Hardbacks are too bulky to be useful. A standard size paperback is best as it fits perfectly in a trousers cargo pocket, and the military needs to travel light.

    3. Don’t be cruel. Give self-contained books. The odds that all 3 books of your trilogy will end up in the same place are very slim.

  6. you mentioned that internet access is limited – so what about ebooks on usb thumb drives? formats – lit, doc, rtf, etc.

  7. @JeffConn, good points, thanks.

    @mstick, thanks for the idea. Apparently there are limited computers as well as bandwidth, so good old fashioned paper books would work the best.

  8. hey, is this address still good. I got a big pile of SF paperbacks to send but these folks rotate…

    great site, visit it daily..



  9. RR, the address is definitely still good, the NATO troops will appreciate them.

    I chatted with Vince online this morning, he will be there until June. Some bombings in and around Kabul, so keep him and all the troops in your thoughts.


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