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Captured British aid worker killed during rescue attempt (UPDATED)

Tragic news coming out of Afghanistan:

A British aid worker kidnapped by militants in Afghanistan has died during a rescue attempt by US special forces.

Linda Norgrove, described by colleagues as an "inspiration", was killed during a firefight between elite troops and her captors on Friday night,  after one of her kidnappers detonated a suicide bomb

Major Patrick Sieber, a US Army spokesman, indicated yesterday the device had been set off deliberately. "The outcome was entirely because of the hostage-takers - he killed himself and her," he said.

Helicopter-borne US troops discovered Ms Norgrove mortally wounded after fighting through small-arms fire as they stormed a family compound in Korengal, a remote and mountainous "no man's land" in Kunar province, northeast Afghanistan.

A British official confirmed: "All the information we have suggests she was killed by an explosion, most likely due to a suicide vest."

Ms. Norgrove was 36 years old. 

The religion of peace claims yet another innocent life, this one purposed in assisting those in the region embrace the 21st century. 

UPDATE: Reports are now coming in suggesting the young woman was accidently killed by her American rescuers:

Britain's prime minister said Monday that aid worker Linda Norgrove may have been killed by her American rescuers, rather than her Taliban captors.

David Cameron said that Gen. David Petraeus had told him Norgrove was possibly killed by a grenade detonated by a member of the U.S. rescue team.

But he added that the full facts had not been established.

Cameron said that some evidence "and subsequent interviews with the personnel involved suggests that Linda could have died as a result of a grenade detonated by the task force during the assault," Cameron said in a news conference.

A terrible tragedy now perhaps made much worse... for the family, for the rescuers.  Prayers abound for all involved.


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Comments (18)

These were Taliban. You kn... (Below threshold)

These were Taliban. You know, the folks certain Americans get called by certain asshats who can't have a civil or coherent discussion about anything.

This is what the Taliban does. I think we need a new corollary to Godwin's Rule. I modestly propose it be called Epador's Rule.

Anyone calling a non-muslim extremist Taliban immediately:
a) loses the argument
b) is stripped of any elected or appointed US government position and authority
c) is sent to the hills of western Pakistan/southeaster Afghanistan with a tattoo of Mohammad on their forehead to research just what the Taliban really is

Her murder is not surprisin... (Below threshold)

Her murder is not surprising. She was a threat to their very existence.

Epador, that's cruel. If yo... (Below threshold)

Epador, that's cruel. If you did that, Kos and the vast majority of the alleged leadership of the left blogosphere (the nutroots) would be subjected to it.

And then who would we have to kick around any more?


No doubt US forces--risking... (Below threshold)

No doubt US forces--risking their OWN lives--will be BLAMED by the left for her death.

Goes without saying, max...... (Below threshold)

Goes without saying, max...


This is a tragedy, but why ... (Below threshold)

This is a tragedy, but why is the USA spending money to send British women to Afghanistan to help ignorant and corrupt tribesmen who do not wish to be helped?

The project she was on cost $349 million dollars of your tax and borrowed Chinese money.

This story is illustrative:


Washington, D.C. - This week in Kabul, Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI) terminated 10 employees including several engineers and other staff members after months of investigation. DAI Afghanistan is a contractor with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

USAID Inspector General Donald Gambatesa stated that the investigation involves Afghan staff members who allegedly approached owners of various companies bidding for subcontracts with DAI Afghanistan. The individuals reportedly offered to help the companies win awards in exchange for a percentage of the total dollar value of the project.

DAI Afghanistan has been implementing USAID's Local Governance and Community Development Project in 23 provinces since 2006 at a projected cost of $349 million. The objective of the project is to assist the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan encourage local communities to take an active role in their stability and development, and address causes of instability and support for the insurgency.

This multiagency investigative effort has included USAID's Office of Inspector General and other members of the International Contract Corruption Task Force, including the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as the local Afghanistan Prosecutor's Office and the Afghanistan Major Crimes Task Force. The International Contract Corruption Task Force is a joint law enforcement agency task force that seeks to detect, investigate, and dismantle corruption and contract fraud resulting from U.S. Overseas Contingency Operations worldwide, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait.

USAID's Office of Inspector General will recommend that the terminated employees be debarred from future Government contracts.

I would recommend lacing th... (Below threshold)

I would recommend lacing the poppy fields with a bitter toxin but that would be cruel and unusual punishment.

galoob's right. Stupid bitc... (Below threshold)

galoob's right. Stupid bitch had it coming, getting kidnapped and killed.


JT, I was thinking that may... (Below threshold)

JT, I was thinking that maybe the Taliban would use up some of their rocks, dull their knives and use up enough ammo, besides be overwhelmed with new victims, that the military might have a better chance at playing whack a mole. Then we could still kick around all the RINO's. Seems like a win-win to me.

NATURALLY our non-biased, s... (Below threshold)

NATURALLY our non-biased, straight-arrow MSM will claim she was "needlessly, senselessly" killed by American troops!!! After all, it's the perpetual JOB of the left to attack and demean the military. And MOST important, she was undoubtedly receiving STELLAR treatment at the hands of her kidnappers! Cracked crab, Chateau La Tour...all the trimmings including candlelight. If you don't believe it, just wait for the AP or Reuters to state it!

Here ya go: AP<a ... (Below threshold)
Who could have foretold of ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Who could have foretold of this?

Cameron (British PM) revealed earlier today that General David Petraeus, the commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan, had contacted his office this morning to say a review of the rescue operation had revealed Norgrove "may not have died at the hands of her captors" as originally thought.

It had initially been reported that Norgrove died from a grenade explosion, but subsequently Nato claimed she had been killed when an insurgent detonated a bomb strapped to his body as American troops attempted to rescue her.

I smelled a rat early on. ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I smelled a rat early on. These Taliban linked groups for all their sins, have a history of not killing women hostages.

I thought and think this is going to prove a real embarrassment, especially to the UK Conservative government that approved the rescue plan,-we are pretty used to Pentagon screwups and coverups, now that the American and Nato military coverup seems to be unravelling as it regularly does in cases of 'friendly fire'. If I were Linda I wouldn't want my -would-be-rescurers to come in, guns blazing with grenades ready to detonate. Hey, but no one is going to listen to me or the Afghan elders.

But an officer working for the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan's spy agency, said while a delegation of mullahs, tribal elders and village chiefs was despatched to the area soon after her capture to negotiate with the militants, the coalition forces bombed several nearby locations, forcing the delegation to halt their mission.
He said he had personally requested that commanders of the coalition forces allow the elders to talk to Ms Norgrove's captors, but the permission was denied.

A local influential mullah from Khas Kunar district said he had spoken to tribal elders in Dewagal valley to put pressure on the militants to release Ms Norgrove.

He said direct and indirect talks were held with her captors and they were told that taking a woman hostage was against the Afghan culture and a violation of the tenets of Islam.

"These Taliban linked group... (Below threshold)

"These Taliban linked groups for all their sins, have a history of not killing women hostages."

Yeah, they only cut off the heads of those unable to defend themselves. Just regular guys.

I'll go with the earlier po... (Below threshold)
John S:

I'll go with the earlier poster. Naïve, liberal do-gooders like this stupid woman should not have been allowed to enter the medieval hellhole in the first place. Afghanistan is one of those places that people should leave alone, and if anyone tries to get out, nuke them from space. It's the only way to be sure.

Steve, with minimal informa... (Below threshold)

Steve, with minimal information in, you are ready to lynch the US military. How predictable, and how demonstrative of your true nature.

Considering the track record of the Army, I am amazed and heartened to see that they are willing to open up to possible errors early on, publicly, and from the top (Petraeus) down. It will take time to try to dissect out the truth from multiple debriefs and forensic evidence. A month is the typical timeframe to complete such investigations, and it is rare indeed to have information divulged early on.

I'll be content to wait until all the information in analyzed before commenting further other than to say that the Taliban sect that took this hostage was well-known as a truly nasty gang, and coalition forces had reasonable suspicions that her life would be forfeit soon. So they acted. The stories Steve mentions aren't some evidence of evil conspiracy or incompetence - they demonstrate that the area was an active battle zone, that the coalition forces did not want to risk harming the elders that wanted to negotiate (imagine the public reaction to THAT!), and that psy-ops were part of their effort to save her. Any demonstration of willingness to have a "cease-fire" as a response to hostage negotiations only encourages more hostage taking as a tactic of the Taliban.

It would seem your programmers have your mind very twisted, Steve, and that is sad because you certainly have the tools to think more intelligently.

epador, you can read the <a... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

epador, you can read the same reports I can. In a month's time, unfortunately no one wiLl be paying the lightest attention. I don't believe her life was in imminent danger, except when 'the marines' burst in lobbying grenades, and blasting away. It looks like another 'cock up'. What are they throwing grenades for when there is a hostage there? seems reckless to me!

Paul Refsdal, a Norwegian journalist who was kidnapped for six days in the same part of Kunar last November, criticised the rescue bid: "When I was in captivity I called my embassy and I was very clear that I didn't want any rescue attempt," he said. "I understand that every politician wants to take credit for the raid on Entebbe," he added, referring to the successful 1976 Israeli commando raid on a hijacked airliner in Uganda. "But this was stupid, really." Two Afghan security officials in Kunar described the captors as a Salafist group led by three men.

I have read too many of these far too many of these friendly fire stories.Twisted.mnn

Shall I list all the, British journalists, Terry Loyd of ITV, Spanish journalists-Palestine hotel , foreign hostages, other foreign soldiers: Canadians, Brits, Pakistanis even Americans like Pat Tillman who have been killed by this cowboy mentality of the American forces, not to mention enormous number of civilians, mistakenly or carelessly targeted by Americans and Nato? Why do do you think so many in the world are very ambivalent of what they are doing in Afghanistan? Petraeus said he was going to clean it up, but so far the results don't appear promising.

The American press or wizb... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

The American press or wizbang, doesn't seem too interested in what really happpened, (attention deficit disorder? so I will rely on 'the Guardian':

The Guardian has learned that a US special forces soldier who is believed to have accidentally killed Norgrove is likely to face disciplinary action after failing to inform his commanding officers that he had used a grenade until long after the event.

Sources in Kabul and London have confirmed that during the assault on the kidnappers' hideaway the hostage broke away from her captors and lay in a foetal position to avoid harm.

The soldier from the elite Seal Team Six special forces unite failed to see Norgrove and tossed his fragmentation grenade in, which exploded next to her.

The use of a fragmentation grenade was first discovered when the taskforce commander in charge of the mission reassessed surveillance video of the attack and saw the Seal toss the grenade into the compound four seconds before the blast.

It is unusual to use a fragmentation grenade (as opposed to a smoke grenade or a stun grenade) in a hostage rescue. However, the rescue team carried them in this mission to give them flexibility in dealing with whatever resistance they met on the way to or back from the target.

The Seals involved in the assault were summoned by their commander and asked if any of them had used a fragmentation grenade....






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