Linda Norgrove, an aid worker from Great Britain, was killed when one of her captors detonated a bomb when NATO forces tried to rescue her, according to the Huffington Post. Norgrove had been held hostage for two weeks in Kunar province. When intelligence sources located her, the decision was made to launch a rescue attempt. Five insurgents were also killed during the mission and one died later when he exploded the bomb that also took Norgrove’s life. Linda Norgrove worked for Development Alternatives, a consulting firm from the Washington D.C. area. Her job in Afghanistan was to help local populations engage in sustainable agriculture.
In a time of war, sometimes civilians get in the way and can become casualties of war. Journalists have been abducted several times in both wars and their outcomes were mixed. Linda Norgrove’s abduction and death were not the first shocking civilian deaths in the War on Terror.
A reporter for the Wall Street Journal was kidnapped in January of 2002 shortly after the war in Afghanistan started. Daniel Pearl was on his way to interview a Muslim leader in Pakistan when he was taken and killed a month later.
Pearl left behind a wife and his first unborn child, according to CNN. His abduction was a warning that Westerners may not have been safe in the wake of the War on Terror as tensions between Muslims and Americans escalated.
Jill Carroll’s abduction and release was one of the top stories for 2006. Carroll worked for the Christian Science Monitor and was kidnapped in Baghdad at a time when sectarian violence was rampant. Her translator was killed in the abduction attempt. Carroll was also on the way to interview her subject when she was taken.
As a condition of her release on March 30, 2006, Carroll was forced to make a video criticizing the occupation in Iraq. Time magazine reports that over 135 journalists have been kidnapped since the Iraq War started.
Unlike Carroll’s release, CBS News cameraman Richard Butler was freed during a dramatic rescue attempt in April of 2008 after being held for two months. Butler was held in Basra, according to CBS News, and his name was withheld to protect him.
What was amazing about Butler’s rescue was the mission to retrieve him was made by Iraqi forces. He said they were “brilliant,” as they quickly overtook the house in which Butler was staying.
Why Abductions Happen
Abductions happen mainly for two reasons in Iraq or Afghanistan. Either the captors want money, or a news-grabbing headline for their cause. Sometimes it is both, as ransoms can often go to buy even more bombs or weapons. Special Forces must be careful when dealing with kidnappers because the situation can go from bad to worse very quickly.
Linda Norgrove’s mission to retrieve her ended in disaster for her. Although details are sketchy, the Associated Press is now reporting that both the British and American governments are launching a full investigation into Norgrove’s death. Her death may have been caused by friendly fire when a soldier threw a grenade into her general vicinity. Her rescue was attempted after no negotiations were ever made by Norgrove’s attackers.
Reichmann, Deb, “Linda Norgrove, Abdcucted British Aid Worker, Killed During Rescue”, Huffington Post.
CNN Staff, “Sources: U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl is dead”, CNN.com.
Peterson, Scott, “Reporter abducted in Iraq”, Christian Science Monitor.
Singal, Jesse, “January 2006 Jill Caroll’s Abduction-Seven Years in Iraq: An Iraq War Timeline”, Time magazine.
CBS Interacitve, “Kidnapped CBS Journalist Freed in Iraq”, CBS News.
Kennedy, Robert, “Full probed vowed in captive Briton’s death”, The Associated Press.