2 Journalists Covering Afghanistan Elections Shot, 1 Killed

Two journalists working for the Associated Press were attacked while riding with a convoy passing out ballots for Afghanistan's elections Saturday.
Posted at 10:45 AM, Apr 04, 2014

Two journalists traveling with a convoy delivering election ballots Friday in Afghanistan were shot. Witnesses say one of them, a photographer, died instantly. A warning: some images in this story can be considered disturbing.

ANCHOR: "We're looking at Anja Niedringhaus there, 48. An internationally acclaimed photographer who was killed instantly, according to an AP television freelancer who witnessed the shooting." (Via Sky News)

REPORTER: "Suddenly, one of these Afghan security forces, an Afghan policeman, walked up to the car where the two reporters were sitting — they were in the backseat — and began yelling 'Allahu Akbar' and firing into the car." (Via NBC)

"Allahu Akbar" means God is Great is Arabic. The Washington Post reports the other journalist, Canadian reporter Kathy Gannon, is now in stable condition. Both women were on assignment for the Associated Press.

The attack happened near the Pakistani border in a town called Khost. Both women were veteran journalists in the region. Colleagues who worked with them called them very brave and very seasoned.

REPORTER: "They're very experienced. They didn't take risks. The problem is, of course, that risks can also come from those you consider to be protecting you." (Via CBC)

That same reporter for the CBC says word from the scene now is the shooter may have opened fire in revenge for a U.S. airstrike that killed some of his family members in a province north of Kabul.

The BBC notes the main issue in these elections will be a final security agreement with the U.S., which affects everything from negotiations with the Taliban to fighting the drug trade.

The network also noted security at the polls is a huge issue for the vote writing, "The Taliban have vowed to disrupt the vote and there were a string of attacks leading up to it. But security at this election will be tighter than in previous votes." (Via BBC)

Last month, Taliban gunmen attacked a hotel popular to foreigners in Kabul killing nine people, including a senior reporter for the AFP. (Via The New York Times)