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Aid worker may have been killed by U.S. troops

KABUL, Afghanistan — British Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday that Linda Norgrove, a 36-year-old British aid worker who was taken captive in Afghanistan last month, may have been accidentally killed during a rescue attempt by U.S. special operations troops.

Norgrove's death was blamed on one of her captors, who officials said had apparently detonated a bomb as U.S. and Afghan troops were closing in. But Cameron said new details indicated she may have been killed instead by a grenade used by the Americans during the rescue mission.

Cameron said he received a call informing him of fresh information in the case early Monday from Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

"We must get to the bottom of what happened, first of all so the family gets this information and knows exactly how their wonderful daughter died," Cameron said at a news conference in London. He said he had already spoken with Norgrove's parents.

Cameron strongly defended the mission itself, saying it had been agreed upon after intense consideration and exchanges between British and American officials. He said a green light was given because Norgrove was in serious danger, being held by Taliban fighters in a remote mountain valley of Konar province in eastern Afghanistan.

Immediately after her death on Friday, NATO officials said one of her captors killed her by detonating an explosive as the special operations rescue team was approaching for its predawn raid. But after receiving new information from the Special Operations Command that conducted the rescue attempt, Petraeus ordered an investigation into the circumstances of her death.

Norgrove, from Scotland's Isle of Lewis, worked for Development Alternatives Inc., a Maryland-based contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development. She was seized while traveling with three Afghan colleagues on Sept. 26 as part of their work on an irrigation project.

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U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Joseph L. Votel of the Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base will lead a team working with British authorities to look into the death of British aid worker Linda Norgrove, the Central Command announced Monday. Norgrove was kidnapped by insurgents Sept. 26 and held in Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan. She was killed Friday during a rescue operation by U.S. forces.

Aid worker may have been killed by U.S. troops 10/11/10 [Last modified: Monday, October 11, 2010 11:20pm]
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