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Foreign journalists shot in Afghanistan: one dead, one critical

© Anja Niedringhaus at the Rencontres internationales de la photographies en Gaspésie (Canada) in 2012

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-04

A man dressed in a police uniform shot two female AP journalists in Afghanistan on Friday, killing one and critically wounding the other, police sources said. The attack comes a day before the country votes in presidential elections.

A veteran Associated Press (AP) photographer was killed and an AP reporter was seriously wounded Friday when an Afghan policeman opened fire as they sat in their car in eastern Afghanistan.

Anja Niedringhaus (pictured, above), 48, an internationally acclaimed German photographer, was killed instantly, according to an AP Television freelancer who witnessed the shooting.

AP reporter Kathy Gannon was wounded twice and is receiving medical attention. She was described as being in stable condition and talking to medical personnel.

“Anja and Kathy together have spent years in Afghanistan covering the conflict and the people there. Anja was a vibrant, dynamic journalist well loved for her insightful photographs, her warm heart and joy for life. We are heartbroken at her loss,” said AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll, speaking from New York.

The two were travelling in their own car with a freelancer and a driver as part of a convoy of election workers delivering ballots from the centre of Khost city to the outskirts in Tani district.

The convoy was being protected by the Afghan National Army and Afghan police.

Shooter was policeman

The journalists were in the backseat waiting for the convoy to move when they were attacked.

A spokesman for the governor of Khost province said the assailant was a policeman.

"Naqibullah, a policeman in Tani district of Khost, opened fire on two foreign journalists. One was killed and one was wounded," Mobariz Zadran told Reuters.

AP reported that Naqibullah walked up to the car, yelled “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great), and opened fire with his AK-47 before surrendering to other police and being arrested.

Gannon, 60, is a Canadian journalist based in Islamabad for AP. She has covered war and unrest in Afghanistan and Pakistan for three decades.

The incident took place on the eve of a landmark presidential election to choose a successor to President Hamid Karzai.

A prominent Afghan journalist with the Agence France-Presse news agency was killed along with his wife, two of his three children, and five other people last month when Taliban gunmen opened fire inside the heavily fortified Serena hotel in central Kabul.

The Taliban has vowed to disrupt voting in the presidential elections, launching an attack on Kabul's election headquarters late last month and increasing its attacks on foreigners.

Niedringhaus is the second Western journalist killed in Afghanistan in the run-up to the election. Swedish journalist Nils Horner was shot dead in broad daylight on March 11 near Kabul’s embassy district.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, REUTERS and AFP)

 

Date created : 2014-04-04

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