Attacks On Journalists In Afghanistan On The Rise

Associated Press journalists Anja Niedringhaus (left) and Kathy Gannon
Associated Press journalists Anja Niedringhaus (left) and Kathy Gannon

Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and reporter Kathy Gannon was wounded Friday in Afghanistan, marking the third deadly attack on journalists in the country over the past month.

An Afghan policemen opened fire on the journalists while they were in eastern Afghanistan covering the upcoming presidential election, according to the AP. Gannon, a veteran correspondent and former Afghanistan bureau chief, is in stable condition.

Gary Pruitt, the AP’s president and CEO, informed staff Friday morning that thePulitzer Prize-winning photographer was killed.

“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,” Pruitt wrote, adding that Niedringhaus was “the 32nd AP staffer to give their life in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846.”

The targeting of AP journalists is the third deadly attack on the press in less than a month and comes as security fears mount for foreigners ahead of Afghanistan’s presidential election.

The New York Times reported last week that an Afghan election once drew “foreigners to Kabul like flies to honey, with incoming flights full of consultants, international monitors, diplomats and journalists.”

“With the possible exception of journalists,” the Times continued, “foreigners have been leaving Afghanistan like never before during an election period after a series of attacks on foreign targets and the commission running the vote.”

Journalists remaining in the country have been increasingly targeted.

Last month, Swedish journalist Nils Horner was shot and killed in a Kabul neighborhood “populated by Western non-governmental organizations, embassies and journalists,” according to the Washington Post.

AFP reporter Sardar Ahmad, along with his wife and two children, were killed less than two weeks later in a Taliban attack on the luxury Serena hotel in Kabul. The horrific attack prompted some Afghan journalists to call for a boycott of Taliban coverage.

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Source: Huffington Post | Michael Calderone

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