British aid worker in Afghanistan may have been killed by US grenade

By staff writers
October 12, 2010

An investigation has been launched into the death in Afghanistan of the Scottish aid worker, Linda Norgrove, after it emerged that she may have been killed by her rescuers rather than her captors.

Initially, it was reported that Ms Norgrove, who worked for Development Alternatives Inc, which rebuilds infrastructure in developing nations, was killed by one of her militant captors detonating a suicide vest as United States Special Forces attempted to free her on 8 October 2010.

But as details have emerged, these claims have begun to unravel.

Local Afghan negotiators had warned against a military operation, but were ignored. They have expressed frustration and anger at the actions of NATO, the US and the UK, saying they believed they could have secured the release of Ms Norgrove without death and violence.

Now it emerges that she may accidentally have been fatally wounded by a grenade thrown by US special forces.

General David Petraeus, the American commander of the Nato-led Isaf force in Afghanistan, told British Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday that a second viewing of video recordings of the incident suggested that the aid worker might have been the victim of "friendly fire".

In a statement, the US military said a review of surveillance footage and interviews with members of the rescue team "do not conclusively determine the cause of her death".

A spokesperson said that an investigation has been initiated by US central command and members of UK forces would be invited to contribute.

There are likely to be calls for a full independent enquiry, however. John and Lorna Norgrove, Linda's parents, are still waiting for a full explanation of what happened.

Meanwhile, most US and UK politicians and media have continued to strongly defend the failed military rescue.

However, in a strongly worded editorial, The Independent newspaper has questioned official versions of the tragic event.

"How often have we been here before?" it asks this morning (12 October 2010).

The paper continued: "The wedding party bombed in July 2008: the US claimed there were no civilian victims, but an Afghan commission revealed that 47 had died; the seven children killed by Task Force 373 in an unprovoked and secret attack in June 2007, their deaths hushed up until revealed by Wikileaks; the three women, two of them pregnant, shot dead in February this year "by militants" it was claimed, until ... correspondent Jerome Starkey revealed that they had been killed by NATO forces. The list goes on."


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