US troops disciplined over grenade death of British aid worker

Members of the US Special Forces have been disciplined after an investigation into the death of Linda Norgrove, a British aid worker in Afghanistan, revealed she was killed by a grenade thrown by her would-be rescuers.

Ms Norgrove, 36, from the Western Isles, died in a blast in Kunar Province on 8 October during a failed rescue attempt led by American forces. Ms Norgrove, a former UN employee, was working for the firm Development Alternatives Inc (DAI) when she was captured in the Dewagal valley during an ambush on 26 September. Initial reports suggested she was killed when one of her captors detonated a suicide vest, but an investigation led by US Maj-Gen Joseph Votel and British Brigadier Robert Nitsch found that she died when a grenade was thrown into a gully. Intelligence suggested the aid worker was being held in a group of buildings higher up the mountain and it was only when they returned that they found her body.

Reporting to the Commons, Foreign Secretary William Hague said that although US soldiers reported their use of a grenade, senior officers did not become aware of it until they examined video footage. He said: "The investigation team found that the failure to disclose information that a grenade was thrown breached US military law. As a result, members of the rescue team have been disciplined for failing to provide a complete and full account of their actions.

"The fact that this action has been taken will confirm to this House how seriously the US authorities regard this matter."

Based in Jalalabad, Ms Norgrove was supervising US government-funded reconstruction programmes in the eastern region of Afghanistan when she was captured by militants. Mr Hague told the Commons he authorised the rescue attempt amid fears that her captors would pass her higher up the Taliban chain of command or move her to more inaccessible terrain.

He said the rescue force was chosen for its knowledge of the area, specialist training and experience in carrying out hostage rescue operations. The captors were traced to two small groups of buildings in the mountainous region.

Mr Hague said: "One of the two teams of soldiers landed near the lower group of buildings. As the soldiers progressed towards these lower buildings, Linda Norgrove's captors came out and were engaged by the soldiers who were advancing on a narrow ledge and under threat.

"A grenade was thrown by a member of the rescue team who feared for his own life and for those of his team, towards a gully from which some of the insurgents had emerged." He said the team moved to the other buildings before returning to the first location, when they learned Ms Norgrove's captors had taken her into the gully.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine