Associated Press staff photographer Anja Niedringhaus was shot and killed while covering the run-up to elections in Afghanistan, the Associated Press announced this morning. Regional correspondent Kathy Gannon was injured in the same attack and is undergoing treatment at a hospital, the wire service said.
“[I]t appears they were targeted and attacked,” AP president and CEO Gary Pruitt said a statement.
AP says Niedringhaus and Gannon were shot by an Afghan police officer while traveling with a convoy of election workers who were delivering ballots in the town of Khost, near the border with Pakistan. The convoy was protected by Afghan soldiers and police, according to AP. Gannon and Niedringhaus were in their own car with a driver and another unidentified freelance journalist who witnessed the attack.
“As they were sitting in the car waiting for the convoy to move, a unit commander named Naqibullah walked up to the car, yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ — God is Great — and opened fire on them in the back seat with his AK-47. He then surrendered to the other police and was arrested,” AP says in its report of the incident.
“Those of you who worked with Anja know what a life force she was: spirited, intrepid and fearless, with a raucous laugh that we will always remember,” Pruitt says in his statement about the attack.
Niedringhaus, who was 48, was based in Geneva. She joined AP in 2002, and had worked throughout the Middle East, as well as in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She was among the team of eleven AP photographers who shared 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for coverage of Iraq.
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