Today, kidnapped British aid worker and DAI employee Linda Norgrove was killed by her captors during a rescue attempt by international forces.
While I agree with British foreign secretary William Hague that “Responsibility for this tragic outcome rests squarely with the hostage-takers,” Norgrove’s death is a good illustration of one reason why, if I’m ever kidnapped here, I do not want to be rescued.
Afghanistan isn’t Hollywood; hostages are likely to be killed in armed rescue attempts.
The other reason I don’t want to be rescued is the sad fact that rescue attempts, even when they succeed, can and often do result in collateral damage.
The cost of rescuing New York Times correspondent Stephen Farrell last year was the lives of at least three innocent Afghans, Farrell’s Times colleague Sultan Munadi, a civilian Afghan woman and child (members of one kidnapper’s family, but surely blameless in the kidnapping), and a young British commando.
Farrell will have to carry that burden for the rest of his life.
I don’t want that.
So, no rescue. And no ransom payment. If I am unlucky enough to fall into the hands of people who intend to harm me or use me for political ends as a captive, by all means engage them in dialogue. Please, try to talk them down, but pay them no money and raise no weapons in defense of my life.
Those are my wishes, now in writing.