Linda Norgrove, a British USAID worker in Afghanistan, was tragically killed by an explosion on Friday night. The Huffington Post reports that she had been kidnapped on Sept. 26, and was still held hostage at the time of the bombing. NATO forces were involved in an attempt to rescue Norgrove when her captor reportedly detonated the fatal explosive, killing her and himself.
NATO officials assure that they did everything in their power to rescue Norgrove, and Sky News reports British Foreign Secretary William Hague asserting that responsibility for this tragedy lies completely with those who took her hostage.
Since these reports, new information reported by Sky News suggests the possibility that it was actually a grenade thrown by U.S. Special Forces that killed her. This possibility is still being reviewed.
Although the sad fact is that the war in Afghanistan has taken its toll on any number of Afghanistan’s civilians, the majority of these individuals pass unnoted. The individuals who are noticed are most often from elsewhere, and have sometimes been kidnapping victims. Some are released or rescued, while others seemingly just disappear. All have made an impact.
Red Cross Workers
In a shocking turn of events occurring in 2007, four unnamed Red Cross workers were reported by the New York Times as kidnapped while negotiating the release of other hostages. Though the Red Cross is known to be involved in these types of negotiations, they are generally involved as a neutral party and thus reasonably safe. This brought attention to the wave of kidnappings that was already going on in Afghanistan at that time.
This woman and her driver were kidnapped in 2008, sparking a rare protest by the women of Afghanistan. BBC News reported that Cyd Mizell had helped numerous local women find work and market their embroidery. The protesters, numbering more than 500, proclaimed that her kidnapping went against their culture and traditions, and called for her release. Sadly, this story goes officially unfinished, as some others do.
In 2009, The Age reports that this New York Times reporter was the second NYT journalist to be kidnapped. What’s more, he had also been kidnapped previously, in Baghdad during 2004. The 2009 instance, though not without fatalities, brought attention to NATO commandos for their heroic rescues, and to the heroism of one good reporter.
It seems that, although there may be a lot of talk about the tragic death of one more kidnapping victim in Afghanistan at this time, all too often these things just as tragically fade away unresolved. Even so, Linda Norgrove will be remembered, and she will continue to make her mark in some form or another, as the others do. Things could be different this time.
Deb Riechmann, Linda Norgrove, Abducted British Aid Worker, Killed During Rescue, The Huffington Post
Sarah Gordon and Rob Cole,PM Defends Failed Aid Worker Rescue Attempt, Sky News
Alex Watts and Rob Cole, US Grenade May Have Killed Brit Aid Worker, Sky News
Kerk Semple, Red Cross workers kidnapped in Afghanistan, The New York Times
Afghan women stage rare protest, BBC News
Lynn O’Donnell, Commandos free kidnapped NYT Journalist in Afghanistan, The Age