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Linda Norgrove’s poignant Afghan pictures

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  • by ALISTAIR MUNRO
 

STUNNING photographs of Afghanistan taken by aid worker Linda Norgrove before her tragic death are being used in a calendar to raise funds for the foundation set up by her parents.

• Linda Norgrove amassed a huge portfolio of photos from Afghanistan

• Her parents spoke of the ‘comfort’ at seeing photographs of the places and people their daughter loved

• The Linda Norgrove Foundation has so far funded nearly 30 grass roots projects, investing around £100,000 on life changing projects in Afghanistan

The images of high mountain ranges, remote valleys, locals in brightly coloured costumes and horsemen taking part in a traditional sport of Afghanistan are all the more poignant for the family of Scots aid worker Linda Norgrove.

The 36-year-old who grew up in the Western Isles tragically died in a failed rescue attempt following her kidnap in 2010.

Her parents, John and Lorna, who set up a foundation following their daughter’s death to help the disadvantaged in the war-torn country, have produced a calendar of Linda’s impressive array of work.

The keen photographer amassed a huge portfolio of pictures as she travelled extensively throughout the country she loved.

The striking photographs include one of a local and his workhorse in colourful traditional costume, another of a worker walking with his animals in a deep valley surrounded by massive peaks, while a further picture to feature shows goat herders gathering their flocks.

Mum Lorna explained: “It is a great comfort to us to see all these wonderful photographs of the landscape and people Linda loved.

“She was a very talented photographer and took her camera everywhere with her.

“The photographic library we have is a lasting legacy and it is clear that she had really enjoyed her travels all over Afghanistan.

Mrs Norgrove said: “We wanted to share these images with other people, not only to raise much needed funds, but also to let people see good things about Afghanistan and the richness of the culture of this beautiful country - one which is always portrayed in such a negative way.

“It’s particularly noticeable how many of the images resemble the north of Scotland and it perhaps helps explain why she felt so at home in this country.”

Linda, 36, from Uig in the Western Isles, worked for the firm Development Alternatives Inc (DAI) and oversaw an aid project designed to create jobs and strengthen local Afghan leadership and economies in vulnerable areas.

She was ambushed and later died in October 2010 by a grenade thrown by a US soldier as a Special Forces squad attempted a night-time rescue at the compound where she was being held.

The rescue attempt was carried out in total darkness in the Dewagal valley and involved assaults on a series of buildings on a mountainside.

One of two rescue teams landed near the lower group of buildings and Linda’s captors came out fighting.

A rescuer ‘who feared for his life and those of the team’ threw a grenade towards a gully from which some of the insurgents had emerged.

It was not until the team returned to the area from the higher group of buildings, where they believed Linda was being held, that they realised she had been killed.

It was initially believed a explosive-laden vest worn by one of her captors had been set off.

But an inquiry team, led by US Major-General Joseph Vogel and British Brigadier Robert Nitsch, sifted through hours of video footage and hundreds of pages of documents.

Foreign Secretary William Hague defended the decision to launch the raid and told MPs the team selected to carry out the operation on 8 October had “specialist training and experience in carrying out hostage rescue operations”.

He said Ms Norgrove’s life was in grave danger after she was kidnapped, and it was feared her captors would pass her higher up the Taleban chain of command or move her to more inaccessible terrain.

It was an “incredibly difficult” operation carried out with the “utmost courage by elite US forces” who risked their lives as if Ms Norgrove was “one of their own”, Mr Hague said.

The Foundation, set up by Linda’s parents John and Lorna, has so far funded nearly 30 grass roots projects, investing around £100,000 on life changing projects in Afghanistan.

The couple visited the country to see an update on a number of the projects earlier this year.

The calendar, which is on sale for £10, is available from various outlets on the Western Isles and can be ordered through the website lindanorgrovefoundation.org.

 

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