News / Asia

    AP Photographer Killed, Reporter Wounded in Afghanistan

    FILE - Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus.
    FILE - Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus.
    An Afghan policeman shot two foreign, female journalists in eastern Afghanistan Friday, on the eve of historic presidential elections in Afghanistan. Attacks against local and international media trying to cover Saturday’s vote increase.
     
    The policeman opened fire on the two prize-winning international journalists as they covered the election process in the eastern province of Khost. Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed, and Kathy Gannon, an award winning reporter for Associated Press, was wounded.

     
    Journalists Kathy Gannon and Anja Niedringhaus, were shot in Khost province, AfghanistanJournalists Kathy Gannon and Anja Niedringhaus, were shot in Khost province, Afghanistan
    x
    Journalists Kathy Gannon and Anja Niedringhaus, were shot in Khost province, Afghanistan
    Journalists Kathy Gannon and Anja Niedringhaus, were shot in Khost province, Afghanistan
    Later the same day, in the same district, a bomb went off in a mosque that was to act as a polling station for Saturday's vote. Officials say two people were killed and four wounded in the blast.

    The Taliban has repeatedly threatened anyone seen as participating in the April 5 presidential and provincial council elections, and the militants have carried out a series of lethal bomb and gun attacks against reporters, election officials, police and government in the past three weeks.
     
    Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry said the officer responsible for the mid-morning shooting of the journalists had been arrested and was being questioned.

     
    FILE - AP Special Regional Correspondent for Afghanistan and Pakistan Kathy Gannon sits with girls at a school in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Oct. 1, 2011.FILE - AP Special Regional Correspondent for Afghanistan and Pakistan Kathy Gannon sits with girls at a school in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Oct. 1, 2011.
    x
    FILE - AP Special Regional Correspondent for Afghanistan and Pakistan Kathy Gannon sits with girls at a school in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Oct. 1, 2011.
    FILE - AP Special Regional Correspondent for Afghanistan and Pakistan Kathy Gannon sits with girls at a school in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Oct. 1, 2011.
    Provincial officials said Gannon was being treated for her wounds in a local hospital and was no longer in critical condition.

    A spokesman for the provincial governor told VOA the two reporters were inside a district police compound when they were attacked.  The two had been traveling in a convoy of Afghan election workers near Khost city, close to the militant strongholds of Pakistan’s North Waziristan.

    Both journalists were experienced reporters. Niedringhaus, a German photographer, who joined AP in 2002, won a Pulitzer in 2005 for her coverage of the Iraq war. Gannon, from Canada, has lived in Pakistan for years, and won a Courage in Journalism Award in 2002.
     
    Mobarez Mohammad Zadran, spokesman for the provincial governor, described the scene.
     
    He said that, today, Friday, around 10:45am, inside the Tanni district police headquarters, one of the district police officers, officer Naqibullah, fired an AK-47 at two foreign AP journalists, instantly killing a German journalist. Another female journalist from Canada was seriously wounded.”
     
    Zadran said the wounded journalist, Gannon, was taken to Khost hospital in serious condition.
     
    Zadran said although in the beginning there were fears that Gannon would not survive, the doctors' work was successful and her condition was improving. He said she was now out of danger.
     
    President Hamid Karzai in a statement released Friday said he was saddened by the attack, and sent his condolences to the families. Karzai said he has ordered the Interior Ministry and the provincial governor to use all their resources to help and evacuate Gannon.
     
    Khost governor Abdul Jabar Naimi has ordered an investigation into the incident to determine why the officer opened fire on the journalists. According to police officials, the shooter was not from Khost, but had been working in the district for a year.
     
    Speaking in New York, AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll said both reporters had worked together for years covering the conflict in Afghanistan. According to an AP report, Carroll said the company was “heartbroken” at the loss of Niedringhaus.

    The United Nations, Reporters Without Borders, and the Committee to Protect Journalists all condemned the attack and expressed their condolences.

    Paris-based press freedom group Reporters Without Borders said the shooting highlights the "permanent and ubiquitous danger" for reporters in some regions of Afghanistan and called on authorities "to do everything possible to guarantee the safety of journalists, whose role is crucial at the height of the electoral process."

    Friday’s killing was the third attack against journalists. On March 11, British-Swedish radio journalist Nils Horner was shot dead at point-blank range on the streets of Kabul. Nine days later, gunmen shot and killed Afghan reporter for Agence France Presse (AFP) Sardar Ahmad, his wife and two of his three young children as they were having dinner in Kabul's heavily protected Serena Hotel.
     
    Afghans said they hoped this election, the first democratic transfer of power from one leader to another, would fortify the country’s political institutions. To ensure that, they said they would head to the polls Saturday despite the threats of violence.
     
    Fawzul, a young man standing with his friends next to a market stall in Kabul, was one of them.

    “I hope this election will bring changes, like paving the way for young generation to be educated, and to bring changes about economics, and well governing, and eliminating security threats,” he said.
     
    Some 300,000 security personnel, including army, police and air support, have spread out across the country to protect roughly 6,500 polling stations.

    Afghan media, as well as the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders, condemned Friday's attack on Niedringhaus and Gannon.

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
    April 05, 2014 3:47 AM
    We have great respect for those two journalists, One was killed why doing what she loves to do best, and the other was injured doing what shes loves to do best. We send our condolences to the victim family,We are very sorry for your lost. And also to journalist that was injured, we say to you get well soon. God bless your heart.

    by: Danka Niedringhaus from: Germany
    April 04, 2014 9:59 AM
    what does a brilliant Jewish girl do in Afghanistan??? I could never understand those Liberals...!!! what a terrible waste...
    In Response

    by: ali baba from: new york
    April 04, 2014 2:07 PM
    because she is a Jew , she deserve to die. Your words explained fully the concept of Islam. killing because the person adopted different religion is not acceptable.. Why you are living in Germany. go and live in cave in Afghanistan. . kidnapped a boy and sexually abused him . live in the mentality of stone age. do not beg for mercy from west for food and medicine. do not ask world vision or care to give a help .

    by: ali baba from: new york
    April 04, 2014 6:12 AM
    everyday we hear another victim of barbaric Afghanistan. it seems that the west never learn from its mistake. The ideology of Islam created people have no conscious and psychopath .Muslim believed that killing western ,christen and Jews will be rewarded in heaven with72 virgin. still our idiot politician gave them money ,food, educate them .We get our reward in earth by killing our children and make a party to celebrate the killing on innocent people. our lawyer politician has no clue to deal with these people.
    In Response

    by: ali baba from: new york
    April 09, 2014 2:52 PM
    I do not know what you believe. if believe that killing is wrong , unfortuenly ,many Muslim use the Quran to produce fatwa to kill. The Quran allows killing of unbeliever or infidel . the Quran urge Muslim to kill anyone covert from Islam
    In Response

    by: Khalid Mohammed from: Baghdad
    April 09, 2014 2:23 PM
    Muslim does not believe that killing western christian and Jews will be rewarded in heaven ! read the holy Quran before saying anything incorrect about Islam. I'm Muslim and I have worked with Anja for years we never asked about religions my condolences to her family and friends, God bless her.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora