April 4 - The White House sent thoughts and prayers to the family of Anja Niedringhaus, a veteran Associated Press photographer who was shot dead when an Afghan policeman opened fire on her and a reporter in eastern Afghanistan. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) The White House sent thoughts and prayers on Friday (April 4) to the family of Anja Niedringhaus, a veteran Associated Press photographer who was shot dead when an Afghan policeman opened fire on her and a reporter in eastern Afghanistan. "The thoughts and prayers of the first lady and the president go out to the family of Anja Niedringhaus, who was killed in Afghanistan overnight. The president and first lady also send their best wishes and their prayers to Kathy Gannon, who was an AP reporter who was wounded in that incident," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a briefing. The AP said photographer Anja Niedringhaus, 48, was killed and reporter Kathy Gannon, 60, wounded while they were sitting in the back of a car. The attack took place on the eve of a presidential election in Afghanistan that Taliban insurgents have pledged to disrupt through a campaign of bombings and assassinations. "There are journalists who are currently on the ground in Afghanistan covering the elections that are slated to start tomorrow who are risking their own personal safety to tell the story about what is happening in Afghanistan. These are journalists who have traveled from across the world to cover what's happening in Afghanistan. This group also includes Afghans, who have courageously made the decision to tell the world about what's happening in their own country," Earnest said. Niedringhaus, an acclaimed German photographer who had covered conflict zones including Kuwait, Iraq, Libya, Gaza and the West Bank, was killed instantly, according to an AP Television freelancer who witnessed the shooting. Canadian reporter Kathy Gannon, who is based in Islamabad and has covered war and unrest in Afghanistan for 30 years, was shot twice and was receiving medical help, the AP said. Gannon underwent surgery in the eastern city of Khost. The operation was described as successful and Gannon's condition was stable, the AP said. The two journalists were in a remote small town on Afghanistan's border with Pakistan when the attack took place. Taliban attacks on security forces, civilians and Westerners have been on the rise since the start of the year ahead of the vote, when Afghans will elect a successor to President Hamid Karzai, barred by the constitution from running again.