An Afghanistan police officer opened fire on two AP reporters while they were sitting in their car. One of the journalists, Anja Niedringhaus, was killed instantly in the shooting. The other, Kathy Gannon, was hit twice and is currently receiving medical attention. The shooting comes as ballots are being delivered ahead of the presidential election.
Two journalists working for The Associated Press have been shot in Afghanistan, one of them fatally, the news agency said Friday.
The Associated Press said the slain journalist was Anja Niedringhaus, 48, an internationally acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize-winning German photographer. She was shot in Afghanistan’s eastern Khost province.
The second journalist targeted by the gunman was Kathy Gannon, a Canadian reporter based in Islamabad, the AP said. She is said to be in a stable condition and is receiving medical care.
“Anja and Kathy together have spent years in Afghanistan covering the conflict and the people there,” said AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll, speaking in New York. “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.”
In a letter to AP staff Friday morning, chief executive Gary Pruitt also praised her courage and skill, describing her as “spirited, intrepid and fearless, with a raucous laugh that we will always remember.”
The two women were traveling in their own car in a convoy of election workers delivering ballots in Khost province, protected by the Afghan National Army and Afghan police, the news agency said.
A unit commander walked up to their car as it waited to move, yelled “Allahu akbar” — “God is great” — and opened fire on them in the back seat, the AP said. He then surrendered to the other police present.
The reason for the attack is unclear, but police have arrested the suspected shooter and the case is under investigation, Baryalay Rawan, a spokesman for the Khost provincial governor, told CNN.
Hours later, a bomb exploded in a polling center in the province’s Tanai district, only about 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the scene of the attack on the journalists, he said.
Two people were killed — one of them Tanai district’s deputy police chief — and three were injured, Rawan said. Those hurt included police and security service officers, he said.
The attacks came amid heightened security on the eve of Afghanistan’s presidential and provincial elections.