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In Memoriam: Anja Niedringhaus
Anja Niedringhaus, a courageous and immensely talented Associated Press photographer, was killed while covering elections in Afghanistan on April 4, 2014.
An Afghan police officer opened fire on Anja Niedringhaus and Kathy Gannon from the Associated Press in a police headquarters in Khost province, after the women arrived with a convoy of election materials on Friday.
Niedringhaus died almost immediately from wounds to her head, a health official said, and Gannon was taken to hospital with less serious injuries after being shot twice. She later underwent surgery and was described as being in stable condition and talking to medical personnel. Both were veteran correspondents with long experience covering Afghanistan.
Afghanistan, once a relatively safe place to work, has become increasingly deadly for journalists in the run up to the elections. Just last month Swedish-British radio reporter Nils Horner was shot dead in downtown Kabul. Days later Sardar Ahmad of the Agence France Press was gunned down, along with his wife and two children, in an attack on a luxury hotel in Kabul. His youngest son, two-year-old Abuzar, survived several gunshot wounds.
Niedringhaus has long been recognized for her expertise in gaining a subject’s trust and photographing them with a style that is immediately recognizable. Her attention to detail, composition and light come together to not only tell insightful stories but also to create works of art.
She worked for the European Press Photo Agency before joining the AP in 2002, based in Geneva. She had published two books. She was the only woman on a team of 11 AP photographers awarded the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography.
President Hamid Karzai’s government has let down Afghan women, according to the new EU ambassador to Kabul, who singled out the failure to end prosecution of rape victims and other abused women for “moral crimes” as a particular “disgrace”.
Franz-Michael Mellbin said that despite huge practical improvements in areas from maternal mortality to the number of girls in schools, Afghanistan was still one of the worst places to be a woman and a frontline in the global battle for women’s rights. Read more
Photograph: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images