Aid worker's parents see 'harrowing' rescue footage

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The Independent Online

The parents of Linda Norgrove, the British hostage mistakenly killed by US forces in Afghanistan, said they have watched "harrowing" footage of the failed rescue attempt.

The 36-year-old aid worker from the Western Isles died in a grenade blast in Kunar province on October 8 as a specialist team tried to free her.

Details of the operation were revealed on Thursday with the publication of a report on events leading up to her death.

John and Linda Norgrove said they felt they had been given an "honest" account of what happened after a meeting with high-ranking officers from the US and UK military.

During the seven-hour presentation, they were shown video footage taken from a plane flying over the ambush site.

Mr Norgrove told BBC Alba: "They went into considerable detail to tell us exactly what happened during the rescue attempt.

"I looked at an overhead video that was actually taken during the rescue where we could see the soldiers advancing and the hostages coming out of buildings and it was quite harrowing. It was a difficult thing to go through but I feel at the end of it we got a really good picture of what happened.

"After the seven hours we still had a couple of questions and one of the officers came back to answer our questions the next day.

"So, we are convinced that we've had a good and honest account of the actual rescue itself."

Ms Norgrove, a former United Nations (UN) employee, was supervising reconstruction projects for the firm Development Alternatives Inc (DAI) when she was captured in the Dewagal valley during an ambush on September 26.

Initial reports suggested she was killed when one of her captors detonated a suicide vest.

An investigation led by US Major General Joseph Votel and British Brigadier Robert Nitsch found that she died when a grenade was thrown into a gully.

Intelligence had suggested she was being held in a group of buildings higher up the mountains.

Members of US specialist forces were disciplined after it was ruled that the failure to disclose information that a grenade was thrown breached US military law.

Mr and Mrs Norgrove said they hoped the official inquest into their daughter's death, to be held in Swindon in the New Year, will concentrate on the rescue and on the events leading up to it.

Meanwhile, they are focusing their time and efforts on the Linda Norgrove Foundation, the charity they set up to carry on her work.

Mr Norgrove said: "The report didn't cover the events which led up to the rescue attempt and we still have some concerns about this, and we hope the inquest which is going to be held next January, will investigate these issues and shed a bit more light on those."

His wife said: "In the meantime we're going to concentrate on working towards building the Foundation.

"We've now got the website up and running and we're thinking about ways we can look at projects in Afghanistan that we can support."