An Associated Press photographer was killed and an AP reporter wounded when an Afghan policeman shouting “Allahu Akbar!” opened fire on their car with an AK-47 Friday, the AP announced.
Anja Niedringhaus, 48, a German photographer, was killed instantly, and AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was shot twice in eastern Afghanistan, the AP said.
“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 Kathleen Carroll, executive editor of the AP.
According to the AP, Niedringhaus and Gannon were traveling in the city of Khost in a convoy with election workers ahead of Saturday’s presidential vote. A translator and an AP freelancer were also in the car. As they were waiting to move, a unit commander reportedly walked up to the car and shouted “Allahu Akbar,” spraying the back seat with his AK-47. He surrendered to other police.
“Anja is the 32nd AP staffer to give their life in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846,” AP President Gary Pruitt said in a memo to staff. “This is a profession of the brave and the passionate, those committed to the mission of bringing to the world information that is fair, accurate and important. Anja Niedringhaus met that definition in every way.”
The Taliban has vowed to disrupt Saturday’s elections, which will mark the first transfer of power since Hamid Karzai became president after the Taliban was overthrown.