It was startling to learn about reports on how a grenade thrown by a US Navy SEAL during the mission to rescue British aid worker Linda Norgrove might have been responsible for her death.
Norgrove was captured on September 26. Her car was forced off the road in Kunar province, near the Pakistan border, and she was held by her captors up in the mountains of northern Kunar. With the US Intelligence unit’s network of informers and drones in the area, they were able to follow Norgrove’s captors and listen on their radio conversations. Once it was made clear that Norgrove was in grave danger, a daring rescue mission has been set.
SEAL Team Six, who had been operating in the area of northern Kunar for months, was the best team to do the mission. The assault was launched before dawn on Saturday morning. In the first few minutes, six of Norgrove’s captors were shot and killed. Norgrove managed to break out from one of the insurgents dragging her out of the hut. She hunched up in the foetal position to protect herself. But a blast was seen near her position, and she was later confirmed mortally wounded.
Initial reports say the blast came from a suicide bomb on the insurgents’ side. However, when the task force commander reviewed the videos on late Sunday, he saw that one of the Navy SEALs, who may not have seen Norgrove’s position, threw a fragmentation grenade 4 seconds before the blast.
The Navy SEAL who threw the grenade believed to have accidentally killed Norgrove may face disciplinary action after failing to inform his commanding officers that he had used a grenade until long after the event.
A joint US-UK military inquiry will examine exactly how Norgrove died.