Norgrove raid misguided chivalry, former hostage says
Anyone who’s read former CBS journalist Jere Van Dyk’s account of his captivity in Pakistan’s tribal region in 2008 could be excused for thinking an armed rescue is virtually impossible.
And so thinks Van Dyk himself, reflecting on the case of Linda Norgrove, the British aid worker killed during a rescue attempt by U.S. special operations troops Friday night, Oct. 8.
Van Dyk thinks the rescue was reckless, perhaps undertaken out of a misguided sense of chivalry.
“I've been following the Linda Norgrove case as closely as I could, every day wondering about her, thinking of her, imagining her, a woman, alone, knowing that she was taken in Kunar, a rough place, but I always felt she would survive,” Van Dyk told SpyTalk over the weekend.
An armed rescue mission in that area is “well nigh impossible,” he said.
“The villages and valleys are completely silent at night. The quietest helicopter would make a lot of noise. All villages have dogs everywhere and they bark.”
“It is easy for me to say, and highly inflammatory, but my feeling is that they would have never harmed her, never violated her," he said of Norgrove. "Other women in the village would have probably known that she was there. They had to cook for her, lead her to a toilet..."
“So why did they go in for Linda Norgrove?” he asks. “Was it because she was a woman and they were afraid that she was being be raped every day, or did they get word that they were going to kill her, or move her across the border? I don't know, but I am sick to my stomach ”
“I think it was male pride,” Van Dyk said, “wanting to protect and to save a woman in distress that drove the military to act. This is very honorable, but wrong.”
Van Dyk, who had traveled from Afghanistan into the lawless tribal region of Pakistan to report on the Taliban at war, was held in a dark room for 45 days, rarely allowed outside and only at night. The conditions were harsh, but he was neither beaten nor tortured. CBS eventually arranged for his release, but he does not know the details of how that was done.
A joint U.S.-British inquiry will examine whether Norgrove was killed during the raid by the Taliban, as authorities first reported, or a grenade dropped by one of the commandos.
In February 2008, Cyd Mizell, a Baptist aid worker who was teaching Afghan women how to turn their sewing into income, was killed after a month in captivity. A Canadian convert to Islam, Beverley Anne Giesbrecht, has not been seen since she went missing on the Afghan-Pakistan border in November 2008.
| October 12, 2010; 1:08 PM ET
Categories: Intelligence, Military
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