A veteran Associated Press photographer was killed and an AP reporter was wounded today when an Afghan policeman opened fire while they were sitting in their car in eastern Afghanistan. Anja Niedringhaus, 48, an internationally acclaimed German photographer, was killed instantly, according to an AP Television News freelancer who witnessed the shooting. Kathy Gannon, the AP correspondent who for many years was the news organization's Afghanistan bureau chief and more recently was a senior writer for the region, was shot twice and is receiving medical attention. She was described as being in stable condition and talking to medical personnel.
The two were traveling in a convoy of election workers delivering ballots from the center of Khost city to the outskirts, in Tani district. The convoy was protected by the Afghan National Army and Afghan police. They were in their own car with a freelancer and a driver, waiting for the convoy to move, when 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. "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," says AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll.