Veteran Associated Press Journalists Attacked in Afghanistan, 1 Killed

PHOTO: Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus poses for a photograph in Rome, in this April 2005 file photo.
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Two female western journalists with the Associated Press were attacked while sitting in their car in eastern Afghanistan, leaving one dead and the other in stable condition.

The attack took place in Khost province, one of the most volatile regions in the country.

Anja Niedringhaus, 48, an internationally acclaimed German photographer, was killed instantly, according to an AP Television freelancer who witnessed the shooting.

Kathy Gannon, the reporter, was wounded twice and is receiving medical attention. She was described as being in stable condition and talking to medical personnel.

An eyewitness, speaking to ABC News by telephone, says the two were shot by an Afghan police officer while on assignment to cover the Afghan elections. It’s unclear if the shooter was an actual policeman or an insurgent dressed in police uniform.

NATO’s regional command in charge of Eastern Afghanistan was asked to offer assistance to help airlift Gannon for treatment.

Afghanistan's Interior Ministry said the shooter is in custody.

"Anja and Kathy together have spent years in Afghanistan covering the conflict and the people there. 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," said AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll, speaking in New York.

The attack marks the third time in the past three weeks that foreign journalists have been targeted. On March 11, Swedish journalist Nils Horner, 52, was shot to death at point-blank range by unidentified gunmen outside an upscale supermarket in one of Kabul’s most heavily fortified neighborhoods. The gunmen fled and remain at large. On March 21, four young gunmen stormed into Kabul’s only five-star hotel, the Serena, and opened fire in the crowded restaurant, killing Afghan journalist Sardar Ahmad, his wife, and two of his three children. The third remains in the hospital and is expected to survive.

Friday’s attack comes just one day ahead of a critical national election in Afghanistan. More than 350,000 security personnel have been deployed across the country to maintain order. The Taliban have vowed to disrupt the elections, ramping up their attacks in recent weeks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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