My first time in Afghanistan was late winter 1968/69, making the Overland Trail fast as possible through howling cold of Central Asian steppes. Minibus from Mashhad to Heart, arriving at the border crossing: dark, dusty, cold and bleak (Later I was to discover that somehow Afghan border-crossings were always dark dusty cold bleak, even on nice summer days.) Busload of hippies pulls up at the checkpoint. Suddenly a huge Afghan officer with bristling mustaches and fierce scowl thrusts himself into the bus: “Any you got hashish?,” he screamed.
Chorus of “No,” “No,” “Not me,” “Not me, sir”—squeaky and scared. What the hell?!
“Sssooo…” hissed the officer, reaching menacingly into his jacket…”You like to buy?” He whipped out a chunk of hash the size of a loaf of Wonder Bread. “Very good, grade-A Afghani.”