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Taliban supporting police commander kills photojournalist in Afghanistan

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An Afghan police official on Friday allegedly shot and killed a veteran photojournalist and wounded a news service reporter while they were on their way to cover Afghanistan's national elections on Saturday, according to media reports including ABC News.

According to Charles Lancaster, a former police adviser in the Middle East, 48-year-old Anja Niedringhaus, an award-winning German photographer, was shot at point-blank range and died instantly.

Niedringhaus was on assignment for the Associated Press with Kathy Gannon, an AP correspondent, who also was shot twice and rushed to the hospital where she was immediately taken into surgery. She is listed as being in stable condition.

The two newswomen were riding in a car along with other vehicles carrying election workers to Tani district for the Saturday elections. While their convoy was accompanied by Afghan security officers and they were all heavily guarded, a police unit commander came to the newswomen's car shouted out the familiar terrorist phrase "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great) and began shooting them as they sat the back seat, according to press accounts.

The jihadist cop used a fully-automatic AK-47 to kill Niedringhaus and wound Gannon. After emptying his ammunition clip, he was arrested by other police officers in the vicinity.

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

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai sent his condolences to Niedringhaus' family, friends and co-workers.

Niedringhaus has covered the war on terrorism in countries such as Kuwait, Iraq, Libya, and the Gaza Strip for two decades and has been to Afghanistan often since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Taliban regime and chased al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his network out of that Muslim nation.

Her many awards included a Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and its ensuing counterinsurgency campaign, according to AP.

Afghan security officials claimed that they will fight hard against the Taliban and other terrorist groups who attempt to sabotage the elections but said they understood it's impossible to prevent Islamist violence.

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