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Anja Niedringhaus: Associated Press photographer gunned down by Afghan policeman

In this 2003 photo, Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus poses for a photograph in Jerusalem.
In this 2003 photo, Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus poses for a photograph in Jerusalem.

Anja Niedringhaus, an internationally acclaimed photographer with The Associated Press, was gunned down Friday, killed by an Afghan policeman who opened fire on the car she and a reporter were sitting in.

Niedringhaus “was killed instantly, according to an AP Television News freelancer who witnessed the shooting,” shares The Associated Press on April 4.

The 48-year-old Niedringhaus was in eastern Afghanistan along with a media crew and AP correspondent Kathy Gannon, who was in the car and injured in the shooting.

Niedringhaus was killed instantly. Gannon was shot twice and is listed in stable condition.

“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.

The Associated Press has also released a synopsis of the veteran photographer’s life and her time with the AP.

Anja Niedringhaus faced down some of the world's greatest dangers and had one of the world's most infectious laughs. She photographed dying and death, and embraced humanity and life. She gave herself to the subjects of her lens, and gave her talents to the world, with images of wars' unwitting victims in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and beyond.

Before joining the AP, Niedringhaus covered the fall of the Berlin Wall, conflicts in Bosnia, Sarajevo and the former Yugoslavia while employed by the European Pressphoto Agency. In 2002, she joined the AP staff and covered Middle East conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The NPR Wire Service described the shooting incident:

The two were traveling in a convoy of election workers delivering ballots from the center of Khost city to the outskirts, in Tani district. The convoy was protected by the Afghan National Army and Afghan police. They were in their own car with a freelancer and a driver.

As they were sitting in the car waiting for the convoy to move, a unit commander named Naqibullah walked up to the car, yelled “Allahu Akbar” – God is Great – and opened fire on them in the back seat with his AK-47. He then surrendered to the other police and was arrested.

“What the world knows about Iraq, they largely know because of her pictures and the pictures by the photographers she raised and beat into shape,” said fellow AP photographer David Guttenfelder. “I know they always ask themselves, ‘What would Anja do?’ when they go out with their cameras. I think we all do.”

Anja’s work is showcased on her website

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