KHOST CITY (Pajhwok): A gunman in a police uniform on Friday shot one female western journalist and wounded another in southeastern Khost province, officials said.
One security official, requesting not to be named, confided to Pajhwok Afghan News the victims worked for the American news agency Associated Press (AP).
A brief statement from the governor’s office identified the slain journalist as German photographer Anja Niedringhaus and the injured as senior American reporter Kathy Gannon.
Mubarez Mohammad Zadran, the governor’s spokesman, confirmed the attack in a far-flung area of Tanai district near the Pakistan border. He said the assailant was a police official named Naqibullah.
The foreign reporters came under fire while interviewing locals about Saturday’s elections at the district police headquarters, according to Zadran, who said the wounded journalist had been hospitalised.
Public Health Director Abdul Majid Mangal said the wounded woman was in stable condition. She has been shot between her shoulders. After being administered first aid, she was flown to a US medical facility at Bagram.
Her colleague in Kabul, Amir Shah, also said Gannon’s injuries were not life-threatening. He spoke with the reporter after the incident, denounced by President Hamid Karzai.
AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll said the pair had spent years in Afghanistan. “Anja was a vibrant, dynamic journalist loved for her insightful photographs, her warm heart and joy for life. We are heartbroken at her loss.”
According to AP, the journalists were travelling in a convoy of election staff delivering ballots from Khost City to Tani district. The convoy was guarded by the Afghan National Army and police.
It quoted a freelancer accompanying the women as saying the incident took place soon after their arrival in the high-security district compound.
As they waited in their car for the convoy to move, Naqibullah opened fire on them in the back seat with his AK-47 rifle. Later, the killer surrendered to other police.
An Afghan journalist with AFP was among nine people killed in a Taliban attack on a luxury hotel in the heart of Kabul on the Persian New Year eve. The insurgents have vowed to disrupt the polls.
A British-Swedish journalist was shot dead on March 11 by unknown gunmen in the Wazir Akbar Khan diplomatic enclave of Kabul. Nils Horner, who was working for a Swedish radio, was shot with a pistol.