Two Female Journalists Shot in Afghanistan; One Killed, One Stable

A shooting involving two female journalists in Afghanistan has left one dead and another in stable condition.

Anja Niedringhaus, 48, a Pulitzer-prize winner German photographer, died instantly. According to Afghanistan's Interior Ministry, the shooter is in custody. Via ABC News:

The attack took place in Khost province, one of the most volatile regions in the country.

[....]

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

An eyewitness, speaking to ABC News by telephone, says the two were shot by an Afghan police officer while on assignment to cover the Afghan elections. It's unclear if the shooter was an actual policeman or an insurgent dressed in police uniform.

NATO's regional command in charge of Eastern Afghanistan was asked to offer assistance to help airlift Gannon for treatment.

The Associated Press has released a statement: "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.

According to the BBC, the police officer arrested may have fired into the car, believing there were insurgents inside, as police were not aware journalists were traveling in the area, interior ministry spokesman Sidiq Siddiqi said.

Violence has increased across Afghanistan in recent weeks, ahead of the election, and foreign reporters have been among the victims.

  • A senior AFP reporter, Sardar Ahmad, was killed alongside eight other people when Taliban gunmen attacked a hotel popular with foreigners in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on 21 March
  • A journalist with Swedish and British nationality, Nils Horner, was shot dead in Kabul by gunmen on 11 March

The BBC's Afghanistan correspondent, David Loyn, says the election is being protected by the biggest military operation since the fall of the Taliban - with the deployment of nearly 200,000 troops.

Rings of security have been set up around each polling centre, with the police at the centre and hundreds of troops on the outside.

You can see more of Niedringhaus's photography here.