Unwitting Terror Alert!
August 2, 2015
Starting at the ungodly hour of 6 am, we drove to Ishkashim. I had photos that I had promised to send to the villagers in Afghanistan and had added a few things to the parcel. I just had to figure out a way to do so. We stopped at the border but the border was closed and appeared unmanned. A lone figure dressed in shabby clothes (I hadn’t quite managed to do laundry), carrying a parcel held together by strings (always suspicious) walking up to the Tajik military post had the sentry on duty step to attention with commendable alacrity. He disappeared behind the wall, clanged the gate shut and reappeared through the niche in the wall, his hands on the trigger of his AK 47. I had no idea I looked that threatening! I took note and tucked away the information for potential future use.
But there is method to my madness and I had a plan. I had the names of the head officer on both the Tajik and the Afghan border posts; they had told me they would see to it that the photos got to the Afghan villagers. My insistence on seeing a Mr. Rustam Ali finally bore fruit and he was fetched. As gracious as before, he not only promised to hand the parcel to Mr. Mohammad Ramin, but even offered us chai. I would have been delighted to accept and take the opportunity to poke around for current Afghan information but my fellow travelers unfortunately declined. So I just handed over the parcel with Mr. Ali’s promise that he would convey it to his counterpart or the Afghan side. Mr. Mohammad Ramin, the head on the Afghan side, was the friendly, talkative man I had spoken with before and he had given me his word that he would see to it that the parcel got to the villagers.