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Nato defends bid to free aid worker killed in rescue

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Kidnapped British aid worker Linda Norgrove was killed by her captors in Afghanistan during a rescue attempt

Kidnapped British aid worker Linda Norgrove was killed by her captors in Afghanistan during a rescue attempt

Kidnapped British aid worker Linda Norgrove was killed by her captors in Afghanistan during a rescue attempt

NATO has defended the failed attempt to rescue a British aid worker taken hostage in Afghanistan after she was killed during the pre-dawn operation on Saturday.

Linda Norgrove (36) died when the suicide vest of one of her captors exploded, either because the wearer was shot or had deliberately detonated the device. Her parents said yesterday they were “devastated” by her death.

Originally from Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands, Ms Norgrove was seized by militants in Kunar province on September 26.

Three Afghan nationals also taken by the insurgents were later released, but Ms Norgrove continued to be held.

After a tip-off revealed her whereabouts, US troops were sent in on Saturday. During the fighting, seven insurgents were shot dead. But Ms Norgrove was killed before she could be led to safety.

Officials in Afghanistan claim that they were close to negotiating a peaceful release of Ms Norgrove when Nato launched the rescue |attempt.

Khalilullah Zaiyi, the police chief of Kunar province where the abduction took place, stated that a delegation of 22 local elders had arranged a meeting with the insurgent group holding her when US special forces carried out their operation.

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He pointed out that a number of previous kidnappings in the notoriously lawless region had been resolved through talks.

But Dominic Medley, a Nato spokesperson, said “everything possible” had been done to save Ms Norgrove. Underlining that she was killed by her captors, he called the mission a “valiant and courageous effort”.

Western commanders were apprehensive that she would be taken across the border into Pakistan's terrorist safe havens if an attempt to free her was delayed.


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