THE killers of a Scottish soldier captured and shot dead in Afghanistan were rewarded with motorbikes and cash, it emerged today (Sun).
Eight Taliban insurgents were each given a new motorbike and the equivalent of 180.
Scott McLaren, 20, from Edinburgh, died last week after apparently leaving a checkpoint and then falling in to enemy hands.
It is believed the soldier with the 4th Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, left his post to try to recover a pair of night vision googles dropped on patrol.
According to reports, a Taliban source involved in the killing said: “The senior leaders in Pakistan were very happy with us.
“Our commander is in Pakistan at the moment,” he added. “He will get a much greater reward.”
The source said they decided to kill McLaren because they were concerned about being captured by British forces searching for their missing colleague.
A rebel commander claimed McLaren strayed into a group of unarmed Taliban.
“Our men beat him and then called for help from the armed Taliban in the area,” he said.
It is understood that CCTV footage shows McLaren leaving his base, Checkpoint Salaang, in the early hours of the morning. He is said to have been wearing full body armour and carrying his weapon.
Afghan intelligence sources say that when his body was found five hours later and three miles away, his helmet and body armour had been taken.
Still missing are his weapon, personal radio, night-vision goggles, grenade launcher and gun sight.
It is reported there was brusing to McLaren’s body, which had been dumped in an irrigation ditch, and two gunshot wounds to his head.
It remains unclear whether these shots were fired before or after his death.
A source said the loss of his night vision goggles on an earlier patrol could explain why McLaren left his post.
“He was probably scared he’d get into trouble if the Taliban got hold of the equipment,” an Afghan intelligence agent was quoted as saying.