Journalists Killed  |  Afghanistan

Anja Niedringhaus

The Associated Press

April 4, 2014, in Khost, Afghanistan


Niedringhaus, 48, a German photographer for The Associated Press, was shot dead by a police officer who walked up to her car, said "Allahu Akbar" (God is great), and opened fire, according to the AP and news reports. Kathy Gannon, AP special correspondent for the region, was wounded in the attack. The two were in a car with a translator and another AP freelance photographer.

Niedringhaus and Gannon were traveling in a convoy of election workers delivering ballots from the center of Khost city to the outskirts, in Tani district, according to the AP report which cited AP staff who were on the scene. The convoy was protected by Afghan security forces. After opening fire on the car, the officer surrendered to other police and was arrested.

The shooting happened the day before nationwide elections for a president and provincial councils, which the Taliban had vowed to disrupt, according to reports.

There was an uptick in attacks in Afghanistan in the weeks leading up to the election. About a month before Niedringhaus' death, British-Swedish journalist Nils Horner was shot dead in broad daylight in Kabul's diplomatic district, news reports said. In January, a Lebanese restaurant popular with foreigners was attacked in a suicide bombing.

On July 23, 2014, a court in Nangahar convicted Naqibullah, an Afghan police commander who goes by only one name, as many Afghans do, in the attack that killed Niedringhaus. He was found guilty of murder and treason and given a four-year sentence. The conviction and sentencing were the first in many steps to a final conviction and sentence, which could take years. Reports citing witness and official accounts suggested the shooting was not planned. In court, Naqibullah did not offer a motive for carrying out the attack.

Medium: Print, Internet

Job: Photographer

Beats Covered: Human Rights, War

Gender: Female

Local or Foreign: Foreign

Type of Death: Dangerous Assignment

Suspected Source of Fire: Government Officials

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