"But I have introductions to the local commanders. I will be much safer with them than with Heratis."
"You will go with our men," he repeated.
"I cannot afford to pay for an escort. I have no money."
"We were not expecting any money," said the man in the stiff jacket.
"This is nonnegotiable," repeated Yuzufi. His broad knee was now jigging up and down. "If you refuse this you will be expelled from the country. They want to know how many of their gunmen you are taking."
"If it is compulsory, one."
"Two . . . with weapons," said the man in the dark suit, "and you will leave tomorrow."
The two men stood up and left the room. They said good-bye to Yuzufi but not to me.
Copyright Rory Stewart 2004. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.