It was not the first such abduction, and there seemed to be nothing to suggest that the 36-year-old aid worker's life was in imminent danger. She had been seized in a particularly lawless region but other abductions there had been resolved following negotiations, sometimes with the payment of ransoms. And there was little publicity about the case – details were not made public while attempts were being made to free her.
International aid workers in Afghanistan had been increasingly concerned about their safety and the murders of a group of doctors in the north of the country, including the British doctor Karen Woo two months ago, have added to the sense of foreboding. However, the fact that Ms Norgrove had not been immediately executed was seen as a source of hope that she would, at some stage, be freed. Well versed in Afghan culture, and a fluent speaker of Dari who was also learning Pashto, she was regarded by colleagues as more capable of surviving than most.