Kabul, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of the international military coalition in Afghanistan, launched an investigation into the failed weekend rescue attempt of British aid worker Linda Norgrove after U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday that she may have been killed by the U.S. special forces who staged the raid.
Cameron said that Petraeus had called him on Monday to tell him that “new information” had emerged to indicate that Norgrove might have been killed by a grenade thrown by members of the rescue team.
Petraeus called for the investigation less than 48 hours after senior Western officials working with the American general told reporters that Norgrove had been killed by a Taliban militant who detonated a suicide vest next to the aid worker during the rescue operation.
In a televised news conference in London on Monday, Cameron said that a review of the raid now suggested that Norgrove might have been killed by her rescuers.
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“Evidence, and subsequent interviews with the personnel involved, suggests that Linda could have died as a result of a grenade detonated by the task force during the assault,” said Cameron.
Minutes after Cameron delivered the news in London, the U.S.-led military announced that, although initial reports suggested that Norgrove was killed by her captors, further analysis had put that narrative in doubt.
“Subsequent review of surveillance footage and discussions with members of the rescue team do not conclusively determine the cause of her death,” the U.S.-led military said Monday in announcing the investigation.
U.S. special forces staged the raid on Friday night after concluding that Norgrove was in imminent danger of being secreted across the border into Pakistan and turned over to more intractable extremists.
Norgrove and three Afghan colleagues were abducted by militants on Sept. 26 while traveling in a two-car convoy through Kunar Province, which borders western Pakistan.
While the three Afghan captives were freed last week, the militants held Norgrove at an inaccessible compound in the forbidding Afghan mountains.