"Listen, so we know you are the correct group , we are going to need you to shine a green light. Just so we don't land on the wrong group."
And the folks in Doha were like: "Ahhhh, that could be a bit of a problem because you see, we don't exactly have a green light"
So I'm guessing at that point the US guy was like "Really? Like there's no one there who even has like a laser pointer in the junk drawer of his desk?"
Taliban: "Yeah, no. No lights. No lasers"
US: "How about one of those little hand crank flashlights? You know the ones that look like little pandas. Do you have one of those you could use?"
Taliban: "Hold on.......(muffled receiver, muffled voice) does anyone have a flashlight? No? It doesn't matter why. Oh, you have one!? What? No Achmed, that is a flare, totally different. Jeeze. I know, I know you are just trying to help but honestly...sigh, go back to your office. So guys, that's a no on the light? Ok, I'll tell him. (clear receiver) You still there?"
Taliban: "Yeah, so that's a negative on the light."
US: (audible sigh) "Ok... do you have a white flag that you might be able to wave?"
Taliban: "Hold on (muffled receiver) They want a white flag, does anyone have a white flag? I don't know, let me ask. (clear receiver) Hi, ummm so does it have to be an official "flag" or no?"
US: (patiently) "Nope, anything flag like will do. "
Taliban: "Ok then, yes, yes we are good to go with flag"
Here's what they showed up with:
.....basically a scrap of white fabric attached to a stick that I'm fairly certain they literally picked up off the ground right there! I'm sure that the white flag as a mark of surrender totally went over their head.
Which brings me to the vehicle:
WHAAA? Its like an Eldorado had sex with a Suziki SUV! Here's how this went down.
Taliban Leader: "So we are going to release this guy to the Americans. I hear there were some issues with the light or flags or something. Anyway, want you guys to go get ol' Baldo Bergdhal and take him in the van."
Taliban #2: "The van? Can we take the crazy scribble truck?"
Taliban Leader: "No, take the van. Its bigger. Take the nice one though. The one with wall to wall carpeting and the sound system."
Taliban #2: (excited and whiny) "I really want to take the crazy scribble truck. Its so cool! It will show them how cosmopolitan we are. Plus what's the point of having a macked out truck like that if we don't show it to anybody? C'mon, please?"
Taliban Leader: "I don't know the van just seems to make the most sense.'
Taliban Leader: "Alright, take the truck. Don't forget the flag."
Taliban #2: "Woo hoo! Hey guys he's letting us take the truck. I call shotgun."
Taliban #2 walks away talking to himself under his breath:
"I have your hostage right HERE!"
"I HAVE your hostage right here!"
"I have YOUR hostage right here."
"HERE IS YOUR HOSTAGE! " (whispers) yeah that's it!' (small fist pump to self)
Which finally brings me to the wave.
"Ok, bye now. Call us next time you are in Kabul! We'll do lunch."