Journalist Kathy Gannon (left) and photographer Anja Niedringhaus (right) shown here together in Zurich in 2013. (Photo: AP Photo/Keystone, Walter Bieri, File)
Earlier today, Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus was shot to death by a police officer in Afghanistan, while she was there covering the upcoming national elections. Niedringhaus has been covering foreign affairs stories for more than 20 years, shooting pictures around the world and earning a Pullitzer Prize in 2005 for her work photographing the Iraq War. She was 48.
An Associated Press reporter, 60-year-old Canadian Kathy Gannon, was also shot and wounded in the incident. The AP reports that she is in stable condition and being treated in a hospital in Kost, Afghanistan.
“Anja and Kathy together have spent years in Afghanistan covering the conflict and the people there,” Kathleen Carroll, A.P.'s executive editor, said in an AP article. “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.”
Despite years of on-and-off violence in the region, the attack on Friday is thought to be the first time a police officer has ever intentionally harmed foreign journalists there. The gunman, known as Naqibullah, is a unit commander in the Afghan police force, and was guarding a nearby government compound. He deliberately shot into the backseat of the car — part of a convoy to the eastern region that was being protected by police, soldiers and the National Directorate of Security — where Niedringhaus and Gannon were sitting. After the attack, he turned himself in to police and was arrested. His motive is still unknown.
Friday's attacks come just a few weeks afte nine people were killed at the Serena Hotel, including two Canadians — Roshan Thomas, a doctor from Vancouver, and Zeenab Kassam, a nurse from Calgary — and Agence France-Presse reporter Sardar Ahmad, who was killed beside his wife and three children. The week before, Swedish journalist Nils Horner was killed outside a cafe.
In honour of Niedringhaus's extraordinary career, we've compiled a few of her photographs in the gallery above.