An Associated Press photographer was killed in Afghanistan on Friday after being shot by an Afghan police officer, Kevin Sieff reported in The Washington Post. A reporter was also injured in the incident.
The journalists were traveling with election workers in eastern Khost Province in a convoy that was protected by Afghan soldiers and police officers, according to the AP.
Anja Niedringhaus, 48, a German photographer, was killed instantly. Kathy Gannon, a Canadian reporter, is in stable condition. Both were veterans with deep experience in the region.
According to the AP, the two journalists have spent years covering Afghanistan. Niedringhaus has covered conflict zones around the world, and she was part of a team that won a Pulitzer in 2005 for coverage of the war in Iraq.
In a memo to AP staff, AP President Gary Pruitt remembered Niedringhaus as “spirited, intrepid and fearless, with a raucous laugh that we will always remember.”
“Anja is the 32nd AP staffer to give their life in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846,” he wrote. “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.”
On Friday morning, Pruitt sent out this staff note:
Friday, April 4, 2014
It is with grief and great sadness that I let you know that photographer Anja Niedringhaus has been killed while working in Afghanistan. Anja and Kathy Gannon, regional correspondent for Pakistan and Afghanistan, were in Khost covering the run-up to the presidential elections in Afghanistan when, it appears, they were targeted and attacked. Kathy survived, but Anja died. Kathy is being treated at a hospital.
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. Based in Geneva, she joined AP in 2002, and worked throughout the Middle East as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan. She was one of a team of 11 AP photographers, and the only woman, to win the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for coverage of Iraq. That same year, she was awarded the International Women’s Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award. In 2006, she was awarded a Neiman fellowship to Harvard University.
Anja is the 32nd AP staffer to give their life in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846. As conflict spreads throughout regions of the world, journalism has become more dangerous. Where once reporters and photographers were seen as the impartial eyes and ears of crucial information, today they are often targets. AP takes the security of its staff very seriously, equipping them with protective gear and intensive training. Yet even that is sometimes not enough.
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. We will miss her terribly.
We will provide more information as it becomes available.
President and CEO
As news of her death spread, people remembered Niedringhaus for the images she captured during her career.
Afghanistan seen through the lens of Anja Niedringhaus http://t.co/db7KMcvYsh
— Justin Miller (@justinjm1) April 4, 2014
@AP colleague Anja Niedringhaus was a world-class photographer and special person. Generous, caring, modest, so full of spirit and devotion.
— Robert Burns (@robertburnsAP) April 4, 2014
The killing of AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus is such a tragedy. Praying for a speedy recovery for wounded reporter @Kathygannon
— Guy Raz (@guyraz) April 4, 2014
Good news – Kathy Gannon has just arrived in Bagram airbase. Sure she is now in very good hands medically.
— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) April 4, 2014
According to the AP, Gannon “an AP correspondent who for many years was the news organization’s Afghanistan bureau chief and currently is a special correspondent for the region, was shot twice and received medical attention. She was described as being in stable condition and talking to medical personnel.”
Niedringhaus took this image of Gannon in Afghanistan in 2011.
On March 21, The Committee to Protect Journalists reported the death of Afghan journalist Sardar Ahmad, who was a senior reporter for Agence France-Presse’s Kabul bureau. On March 11, CPJ reported on the death of British-Swedish journalist Nils Horner who has killed in Kabul. He was based in Hong Kong.
According to CPJ, “there has been an uptick in attacks in Kabul in recent weeks as next month’s presidential elections approach.”
Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator, said on Friday that the tragedy showed the escalating dangers of covering the election in Afghanistan.
“Both women, widely experienced in conflict zones, are recognized for their decades of fearless reporting. As pre-election violence mounts, Afghanistan has become a dangerous assignment on par with the height of the Iraq war or the current situation in Syria.”