Parents tell of 'nightmare' over aid worker Linda Norgrove's death

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The Independent Online

The parents of aid worker Linda Norgrove today spoke of their "nightmare" at learning of their daughter's death in Afghanistan.

But John and Lorna Norgrove said they did not want to enter a "blame game" after their kidnapped daughter was killed in a failed rescue attempt on October 8.

A foundation has been set up in 36-year-old Linda's name to promote the causes she supported.

Mr Norgrove said Linda was a "very adventurous girl" and was determined to go to Afghanistan four years ago when she worked for the United Nations.

"At the time I said to her that our worst nightmare was that she might be kidnapped," he said.

"But at the end we had to accept that she'd been adventurous, she'd done risky things before."

The aid worker died during a US-led rescue attempt and it has since emerged a US grenade may have been to blame. A joint US/UK military inquiry into her death is currently under way.

Her death came a fortnight after her parents, from Lewis on the Western Isles, learned of her kidnapping in Kunar province on September 26.

Mr Norgrove said he and his wife had been climbing a mountain on the day they discovered Linda had been taken.

He added: "We came back to be met by the police who told us Linda had been kidnapped, and from then on it was an absolute emotional rollercoaster.

"It's very difficult to explain to anybody who has not been through it, but it felt like sometimes when you are busy and talking to people the pain almost seemed to go away and then it would just come in in floods of emotion.

"I got through that period to a certain extent by imagining the elation of meeting up with Linda when she returned home in Stornoway Airport and just imagining how that would be.

"So, it came as an absolute nightmare to us two weeks later to have a visit from the police at three o'clock in the morning one day to say that she had been killed in a rescue attempt."

Mrs Norgrove added that her daughter had "grown to love" Afghanistan and the people.

"I knew that's where her heart was and she wanted to do humanitarian work there and I think that's what was so important to her and what she felt she had to do," she said.

"We don't want to enter the blame game. Linda is dead and there's nothing we can do to change that, we're just immensely proud of what she was doing in Afghanistan and we want to continue her work in some way."

Mr Norgrove described his daughter's captors as "extremely dangerous and militant criminals".

He added: "The rescue attempt, it would appear to us, was so close to being a total success and at the end there was what appears to have been a human error.

"But we do think that it is very creditable of the Americans to own up that there has been a mistake when they could so easily have covered the whole thing up and we do think they deserve credit for that.

"But we have obviously got to wait for the outcome from the report which the British and American military are making."

More than 200 relatives, friends, dignitaries and local residents paid their respects to the charity worker in a funeral ceremony earlier this week held on Lewis.

Three local staff were also taken with the aid worker when she was kidnapped but they were released unharmed.

The former United Nations employee was working for the firm Development Alternatives Inc (DAI).

Based in Jalalabad, Ms Norgrove supervised reconstruction programmes funded by the US government in the eastern region of Afghanistan.