The Huffington Post is reporting that British aid worker Linda Norgrove, 36, who was kidnapped two weeks ago in Afghanistan, has been killed. Norgrove was killed along with her captors in a botched NATO rescue attempt when her captors, engaged in a gun battle with NATO forces, detonated an explosive device.
Norgrove had been working in Afghanistan for a consulting company out of Washington D.C., Development Alternatives. This was not Norgrove’s first stint helping aid those in developing nations or war zones. She had previously worked on projects in Mexico, Uganda, Laos and Peru. Norgrove worked for the United Nations as far back as 2005. She also ran a U.N. program to train ex-combatants in Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan, Norgrove was working to create jobs, improve local economies and reduce dependence on poppy cultivation.
Norgrove is not the first civilian to be killed or injured in the Middle East during the course of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,
ABC Correspondent Bob Woodruff Battles Back After Iraqui Blast
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have proved especially deadly for journalists. Perhaps the most publicized story is that of ABC correspondent and co-anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight Bob Woodruff. According to ABC News, on Jan. 29, 2006, Woodruff was injured by a roadside bomb while reporting from Iraq. Woodruff suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a result of injuries sustained in the blast.
Although visual reminders remain, Woodruff is busy professionally and was back on the job at ABC News only 13 months after the bomb blast. Since returning from his injury, he has reported from North Korea, Syria, Jordan and Sudan. He interviewed survivors of the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, and in 2008 became the anchor of Focus Earth airing on Planet Green.
Woodruff has been extremely vocal about his experiences in Iraq. His first report after being injured, “To Iraq and Back: Bob Woodruff Reports,” chronicled his struggle with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and painful recovery. Woodruff turned his tragedy into a crusade for injured service members. He is especially concerned with service members suffering from TBI. In 2008, Woodruff received a Peabody Award for his TBI reporting. Woodruff has even started a foundation to help injured military returning home. The Bob Woodruff Foundation’s main goal is support of injured service members and their families, and educating the public.
British Dr. Karen Woo Ambushed While on Humanitarian Mission
According to the Daily Mail Online, British doctor Karen Woo was killed by the Taliban while providing eye care to villagers in the Badakhshan province. She was killed just two weeks before her planned wedding. Killed along with Woo were six Americans, including a dentist, nurse and optometrist.
The Taliban claimed their killing of Woo, 36, was justified because she was working in the Muslim country as a Christian missionary. Woo’s family denies the charges, claiming Woo was simply a doctor who wanted to help people in need. The Taliban ambush occurred sometime in August 2010, although the exact date is not known. Eleven people in total were killed in the attack. Woo’s death began a heated debated about the role of religion in the war. The police initially ruled the deaths a robbery gone bad. Later, the Taliban admonished the murders. People in the know claim it had all the earmarks of a Taliban attack. Woo’s body was returned to England for burial. Woo’s death spotlighted the risks posed to foreign aid workers in the Middle East.
More Taliban Attacks…More Danger for Civilians
The Washington Post reported in May 2010 on the death of a U.S. contractor following a Taliban attack on the enormous heavily armed Bagram air base in Afghanistan. The predawn attack also injured nine U.S. soldiers. Ten Taliban insurgents were also killed. Four of the attackers were later found to be wearing suicide vests laden with explosives.
The incident marked the beginning of acceleration in Taliban attacks on American military installations. This increases the chance of death and injury for civilian contractors, journalists and aid workers who often travel with military escorts and stay in accommodations guarded by the military.
Deb Riechmann “Linda Norgrove, Abducted British Aid Worker, Killed During Rescue” Huffington Post
The Bob Woodruff Foundation
“Taliban murder victim ‘was no missionary’: Doctor’s family deny claims by Afghan assassins”,
Daily Mail Online
Joshua Partlow “U.S. contractor killed, 9 soldiers wounded in Taliban attack on Bagram air base” The Washington Post