Rescuers may have killed aid worker

British aid
worker Linda Norgrove may have been accidentally killed
by US forces during a rescue mission in Afghanistan, David Cameron has said.

International forces originally
said she died on Friday when one of her captors detonated a suicide vest.

But the prime minister said new
details had come to light suggesting her death may have resulted from a US

Mr Cameron said he had spoken to
her family about the “deeply distressing” news.

Ms Norgrove, 36, who was employed
by US aid group DAI, was seized in the Dewagal valley in the Kunar province on
26 September.

Three local staff were kidnapped
with her when the two cars they were travelling in were ambushed. The staff
were released unharmed last week.

It had been thought that she was
killed by her abductors just as US forces reached the compound in which she was
being held.

But Mr Cameron said Gen David
Petraeus, the top allied commander in Afghanistan, had telephoned him to say
she could have died as a result of a grenade detonated by the taskforce during
the assault.

Linda Norgrove was seized in the
province of Kunar on 26 September

He said the general had told him US
forces were deeply dismayed at the outcome.

And he added that it was
“deeply regrettable” that information published on Saturday about Ms
Norgrove was highly likely to have been incorrect.

Last Friday’s rescue mission of
Linda Norgrove has clearly gone doubly wrong – she died in the attempt and then
the wrong information was put out about how she died.

But General Petraeus’s office in
Kabul maintains that the alternative could have been even worse.

Without giving any details they say
they had intelligence that by late on Friday her life was in great danger and
that the rescue operation was “her best chance of success”.

What both the US and British
governments feared was that she was about to be smuggled across the border into
Pakistan’s tribal territories, passed to an even more extremist group, filmed
on video to be uploaded onto the internet and then murdered in cold blood.

Despite what happened in the rescue
attempt, Gen Petraeus’s office says they have absolutely no doubt that mounting
a hostage rescue operation was “the right thing to do”.