Commander Mohammad Ashan's chest must have swelled with pride. Flyers of the mid-level Taliban officer were on display all over his local Sar Howza district. Better yet, they promised money -- 100 smackers, to be precise.
Ashan instead found himself smacked with clean, cold handcuffs when he arrived at the police station to claim the cash, said The Washington Post. The Taliban officer was wanted for at least two attacks on Afghan security forces.
The accidental turn-in had officials marveling. “This guy is the Taliban equivalent of the ‘Home Alone” burglars,” one US official said, reported the Post.
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Officials had posted “Be on the Lookout” papers depicting Ashan and offering reward money for information leading to his arrest. They little suspected the man himself to turn up for the dough.
"Always read the small print," advised New York Magazine.
Ashan's Paktika province has been the scene of growing violence, with nine Afghan policemen shot to death as they slept in a high-profile incident late last month, according to the BBC.
The situation has civilians reticent to pass along sensitive information to the authorities and Taliban figures rarely surface in public area, said the Post, making the Ashan affair all the more surprising. But medical scans have confirmed that the man who tried to claim the award was the same insurgent authorities had been seeking, US officials told the Post, adding that they could hardly believe the story themselves at first.
“We asked him, ‘Is this you?’" US army specialist Matthew Baker told the Post, describing an enthusiastic Ashan responding, "‘Yes, yes, that’s me! Can I get my award now?’”
Authorities think he's gotten his due, all right.