Monday, 11 October 2010

Cameron reveals how Linda Norgrove died

It was a clearly shaken David Cameron who revealed this morning that Linda Norgrove, the Scottish aid worker kidnapped in Afghanistan, may have been killed by a grenade detonated by her would-be rescuers.

Cameron's Downing Street press conference, his first as Prime Minister, was delayed for an hour while he took calls from US General Petraeus and then had that difficult phone conversation with John Norgrove, Linda's father, on the Isle of Lewis.

In front of the media Cameron was a bit nervy, and unable to answer all the questions relating to the incident. His discomfort stands as nothing compared to the distress of the family finding out that their daughter's death was not as they had first been informed.

It took 48 hours for the US Special Forces debrief to overturn their initial claim that Linda Norgrove may have been killed when one of her kidnappers triggered a suicide belt.

This is quite a test for a Prime Minister, to make a call for a rescue bid and for it to go wrong. Cameron said: "I will obviously go over in my mind 100 times whether it was the right decision but I profoundly believe it was."

There have been a serious of tough calls to be made throughout the weeks that Linda Norgrove was held. Could negotiations have been successful, what was the advice from the British military, where the parents asked for their approval of a rescue mission.
And why were lethal fragment grenades used instead of stun grenades used in other hostage rescues.

News that "something had gone wrong" in the rescue was known locally in the Norgrove's village on Sunday evening, so a picture of what had a happened in eastern Kunar must have been emerging by then.

William Hague, who sanctioned the rescue as Foreign Secretary, will be on his feet in the Commons at 3.30pm

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