Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed while waiting in an election workers convoy that was delivering election ballots in the city of Khost. Kathy Gannon a colleague was wounded in the attack.
The two female journalists from the West were shot in the eastern section of Afghanistan in what has become a very disturbing trend of violence used against the media as the country begins its preparation for electing its new president on Saturday.
The Taliban are working to instill fear throughout the electorate via a series of attacks that have been high profile ahead of the presidential election with the winner succeeding Hamid Karzai who since 2001 has been the president.
Niedringhaus, who was German, died in the latest attack, while Gannon a reporter from Canada for AP was seriously wounded, said a Khost Province spokesperson.
The shooting took place in Khost in eastern Afghanistan near the country’s border with Pakistan, as both traveled with an election workers convoy delivering election ballots.
While waiting for the convoy to start moving again a unit from the police command approached the vehicle were the two women were the official apparently had been saying, “God is Great” prior to firing. The Interior Ministry of Afghanistan said the shooter was detained by authorities.
Prior to this attack, the violence against foreign journalists had been condemned by the Reporters Without Borders. This latest attack comes following the death of a reporter from Agence France-Presse named Sardar Ahmand in March. Gunmen from the Taliban killed the reporter when they assaulted a major hotel in Kabul where he had been dining.
Prior to that, in early March, Nils Nomer a journalist from Sweden was shot while on a Kabul streets.
The Taliban has said it would use suicide bombs with the target being officials and voters. Over 200,000 troops have been dispatched to help keep the election safe.
This week many Afghans are attempting different rallies and appear to be engaged in voting despite the attacks and threats.