US, UK vow full look into killing
Say rescue mission was necessary
KABUL, Afghanistan — US and UK military officials have started what is promised to be a thorough investigation into the death of a kidnapped British aid worker who may have been killed in error by US special forces — rather than, as originally stated, by her Taliban captors.
Linda Norgrove’s death has reverberated through the corridors of power from Kabul, to London, to Washington — where President Obama expressed condolences and pledged to get to the bottom of what happened during the deadly raid.
Norgrove, 36, and six insurgents were killed Friday after US special forces stormed a compound in eastern Kunar Province where she had been held for two weeks. Norgrove and three Afghan colleagues were ambushed and kidnapped Sept. 26. Her colleagues were quickly freed.
NATO said initially that Norgrove was killed by her captors. On Monday, however, alliance officials said new information indicated Norgrove may have been killed by a US grenade.
“The review showed what was believed to be a member of the rescue team throwing a hand grenade in the area near where Ms. Norgrove was later found,’’ said Major Sunset Belinsky, a NATO spokeswoman. “It’s now unclear what the exact circumstances surrounding her death are, and the investigation will attempt to determine the facts.’’
The White House said Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain contended that the rescue operation was necessary and “agreed that it was now essential to get to the bottom of what had happened.’’
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO secretary general, emphasized that “whatever happened, I would like to stress that those who are responsible, of course, are the captors.’’
William Hague, Britain’s foreign secretary, told Parliament that Norgrove’s kidnappers were members of a local Salafist group allied with the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other insurgents.
“At no stage was any serious attempt made to negotiate by those holding her,’’ Hague said.
The investigation will be led by Army Major General Joseph L. Votel of US Special Operations Command. The United Kingdom will appoint Brigadier Rob Nitsch, head of logistics for British forces in Afghanistan, to work closely with Votel.