Petraeus to meet PM over Norgrove killing

By Peter Wozniak

The senior US commander in Afghanistan has met with David Cameron in Downing Street today over the incident which led to the death of British aid worker Linda Norgrove.

General David Petraeus spoke with the prime minister in person to clarify the situation after it emerged that Ms Norgrove, who had been taken hostage by the Taliban, may have been killed by her American rescuers.

A joint US-UK investigation into the incident is now underway and Mr Cameron has confirmed that Ms Norgrove’s autopsy will be conducted by a British coroner.

General Petraeus has apparently pledged “full co-operation” in the investigation, calling it a “personal priority.”

This morning it was reported that Ms Norgrove may have escaped her captors and been hiding crouched down when a grenade thrown by US special forces killed her.

The reports have not yet been officially refuted or verified.

It had previously been suggested over the weekend that the aid worker had been killed by her Taliban captors, but a phone call from Gen Petraeus to the prime minister on Monday indicated otherwise.

Mr Cameron appeared visibly shaken by the news when he gave a press conference later that day after informing Ms Norgrove’s family.

The rescue operation involving US forces was authorised by William Hague and signed off by the prime minister.

Mr Cameron stated on Monday that he would “go over the decision a hundred times” but firmly believed it was the right course of action.

Labour leader Ed Miliband confirmed his support for the prime minister yesterday as he insisted that only her Taliban captors can be held responsible for the death.

Gen Petraeus, who commands the international forces across Afghanistan, also used the meeting today to discuss the imminent UK strategic defence and security review (SDSR) – due next week amid speculation that dramatic cuts to the defence budget are on the way.

Following the visit, a Downing Street spokesman said: “General Petraeus thanked the PM for the ongoing British commitment to Afghanistan and for the valued contribution made by British troops, civilians and equipment.

“The Prime Minister also raised the Linda Norgrove case. General Petraeus said that the investigation was a personal priority for him and emphasised that there would be full co-operation between the US and UK.”