Mohammad Ashan, a mid-level Taliban commander in Paktika province, strolled toward a police checkpoint in the district of Sar Howza with a wanted poster bearing his own face. He demanded the finder’s reward referenced on the poster: $100.
But instead of receiving the reward, Ashan found himself smacked with clean, cold handcuffs when he arrived at the police station to claim the cash, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
The Taliban officer was wanted for at least two attacks on Afghan security forces. The accidental turn-in left officials bowled over.
“This guy is the Taliban equivalent of the ‘Home Alone” burglars,” one U.S. official said, according to the Post.
Wanted posters are often distributed by NATO forces, but rarely have such a direct impact on the apprehension of an insurgent. In the restive Paktika province, civilians are typically afraid to pass on intelligence that might lead to an arrest. And insurgents tend to shy away from the urban centers where they are being hunted, particularly while carrying evidence of their own transgressions.
Officials have guessed at what the unusual details of Ashan’s arrest might tell us about the state of the insurgency — its desperation, its lack of resources, its defiance of law and order.
Since it seemed improbable that a man could be as rash as Ashan to turn himself in, officials took a biometric scan and were amazed to discover the man in custody was actually the alleged terrorist himself, the Newser reported.