"And now we're under arrest," said Teru.
"I would call it temporarily detained," said Doug.
IT TOOK US FIVE DAYS to work our way through the red tape. We were transferred north through Tajikistan—in beat-up cars that ran out of gas, and on foot—one military base to the next, one interrogation to the next. We were put up in rooms, heated by small piles of burning sagebrush, with Soviet pinup girls on the walls. We were served platters of Marco Polo meat and treated like visiting dignitaries, then informed we were going to prison. We played volleyball with bored boy-soldiers, then were told we were dangerous spies.
Back in Afghanistan, word of U.S. interrogators at Guantánamo torturing Muslim captives and flushing the Koran down the toilet had ignited anti-American riots throughout the country. Backing out of the Wakhan, Greg had been caught up in the conflagration and was laying low in a hotel in Faizabad. Still, he managed to get a sat-phone call to the U.S. embassy in Kabul, informing them of three errant Americans.
We were released into the custody of U.S. embassy officials, who drove us to the Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe. The moment the doors closed on the bulletproof embassy Land Cruisers, we were home. Outside it was Tajikistan; inside it was America. We drove to a fancy hotel listening to Van Morrison, eating Pringles, and drinking Coke.