UK

AP Journalists Anja Niedringhaus And Kathy Gannon Shot By Police Officer In Afghanistan

04/04/2014 11:37 BST | Updated 04/04/2014 11:59 BST

Two Associated Press journalists have been shot by a police commander in Afghanistan, leaving one dead and the other seriously injured.

German photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and her colleague Canadian reporter Kathy Gannon was shot in the hand and chest, as the gunman yelled "Allahu Akbar" and opened fire with his AK47.

They were both sitting in the back of a car, accompanying an independent election commission convoy in a rural area of Khost province. The election is this weekend.

Their convoy was protected by the Afghan National Army and Afghan police, AP said, and the journalists were in their own car with a freelancer and a driver.

anja niedringhaus

Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus, who has been killed in Afghanistan

Gannon, 60, who has been taken to hospital in Khost City, has been described as stable and reporters on the ground said she was able to communicate with police and medical staff.

"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 man who fired the bullets has been named as a police unit commander called Naqibullah, the gunman surrendered after firing, and has been taken into custody.

Both women have covered Afghanistan extensively. Niedringhaus, 48, was an award-winning photojournalist, the only woman on a team of 11 that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography, for AP's coverage of the Iraq War.

She came to Afghanistan to cover the country shortly after 9/11 and covered the US assault on the Taliban.

Gannon is the agency's special correspondent on Pakistan and Afghanistan, and has authored books on the region.

AP President Gary Pruitt remembered Niedringhaus as "spirited, intrepid and fearless, with a raucous laugh that we will always remember."

"Anja is the 32nd AP staffer to give their life in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846," he wrote in a memo to staff.

"This is a profession of the brave and the passionate, those committed to the mission of bringing to the world information that is fair, accurate and important. Anja Niedringhaus met that definition in every way."