In memoriam, Linda Norgrove, humanitarian in Afghanistan

The New York Times reports:

A Scottish aid worker who was taken hostage two weeks ago by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan was killed by her captors early Saturday during an unsuccessful rescue raid, according to the British Foreign Office.

The aid worker, Linda Norgrove, 36, was regional director of a jobs program financed by the United States Agency for International Development for Afghanistan’s eastern region.

Former colleagues described her as a person of enormous warmth and kindness who was deeply committed to helping people in poor areas of the world and who had spent years in Peru and Laos as well as in Afghanistan.

Ms. Norgrove loved Afghanistan from the first time she arrived in 2005 on a United Nations mission, colleagues said. While many United Nations workers stay for a year or two, she stayed for more than three years working on environmental programs and helping to administer an alternative livelihoods program for farmers in poppy farming regions.

In her latest job she was the only expatriate in the Jalalabad office of DAI, directing about 200 Afghan professionals and coordinating with Afghan ministries and local companies. Sensitive to local tradition, she always wore the long, loose tunic and trousers known as a shalwar kameez and covered her hair with a large scarf. “I’ve seen few people among Afghan and Muslim people like her,” said a man who worked with her who gave his name as Bakhtiar. “She was very kind, very helpful, a lovely lady, a very respectful woman.”

Deepest condolences and sympathies to Linda Norgrove's family and friends.