Wounded AP correspondent Kathy Gannon chronicles conflict, life in Afghanistan, Pakistan

Published: April 4, 2014

In this Oct. 26, 2001 file photo, Associated Press Islamabad bureau chief Kathy Gannon reports from the basement of the AP house in Kabul, Afghanistan, during a night of heavy bombing. AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis

REBECCA SANTANA
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Associated Press correspondent Kathy Gannon, wounded Friday in a shooting that killed an AP photographer, has reported on Afghanistan for nearly three decades, chronicling the country from the Soviet occupation to the fall of the Taliban to the current presidential election and the coming withdrawal of foreign troops.

Gannon, a Canadian who joined the AP in the mid-1980s, is known to colleagues, diplomats and government officials for her encyclopedic knowledge of the region and for her fearless pursuit of stories, whether they be found in a cave on the Afghan-Pakistan border or in the carpeted halls of power in Kabul or Islamabad.

“She knows Afghanistan very well. She knows the culture of the people,” said Amir Shah, an AP reporter in Kabul who first met Gannon in 1992 and has worked with her ever since. “She is very brave, and she was working very hard.”

On Friday, an Afghan police officer opened fire on Gannon and AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus as they sat in a car at a police station in the eastern city of Khost. Niedringhaus, an internationally acclaimed photographer, was killed instantly. Gannon suffered three gunshot wounds in the attack and received medical attention. Authorities said she was in stable condition and spoke with medical personnel.

“Kathy Gannon is a brave and passionate journalist whose expertise and deep knowledge and experience of both Afghanistan and Pakistan have made her an indispensable authority on the region,” said John Daniszewski, AP’s vice-president and senior managing editor for international news. “She and Anja Niedringhaus often worked together as a team.”

For years, Gannon and Niedringhaus could be found together covering stories. They embedded with the Afghan military to report on how it was doing without foreign support, and went to Pakistan’s Swat Valley to describe the aftermath of the assassination attempt against teenager Malala Yousafzai for speaking out on behalf of girls’ education.

Gannon arrived in 1986 in Peshawar, the Pakistani city that became a hub for foreign fighters and money flowing into Afghanistan during their war against the Soviets.

“I sold everything I owned, which wasn’t much, and set out to become the foreign correspondent I’d always wanted to be,” she wrote in her 2005 book, “I is for Infidel, From Holy War to Holy Terror: 18 Years Inside Afghanistan.”

A photo dated 10 October 2011 shows Associated Press (AP) reporter Kathy Gannon in Islamabad, Pakistan. EPA/T. MUGHAL

She was well aware of the dangers. She describes in her book how she and the fighters once walked through an Afghan minefield in 1986.

“Suddenly there was a loud explosion — it seemed as if it must be right next to me,” she wrote. “I felt a nauseous surge of fear: The (fighter) beside me had stepped on a mine. It killed him instantly.”

Gannon, 60, has served as an AP bureau chief and more recently as senior writer for Afghanistan and Pakistan. One of her predecessors as AP’s Islamabad chief of bureau, Sharon Herbaugh, died in a 1993 helicopter crash in the central mountains of Afghanistan. The 39-year-old Herbaugh was the first AP newswoman and bureau chief to die on assignment

Two weeks into the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban allowed Gannon and a colleague into the country — the only journalists despite hundreds wanting visas. They covered the bombing campaign from Kabul by candlelight, with Gannon at one point thrown across the room as a bomb landed near the AP bureau. She wore a long shirt, baggy trousers and a headscarf while working in the street.

When the Taliban finally fled the capital, Gannon filed a dispatch that began: “Residents of the Afghan capital peered through the open doors of abandoned Taliban military bases … and whispered to each other: ‘Are they gone?”‘

Related stories:

13:28ET 04-04-14

[+]

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



Readers Comments (0)

Comments are closed.

Featured

Royal Wedding

Aga Khan’s eldest son Prince Rahim and his wife Kendra Salwa Spears expecting their first child

VANCOUVER DESI The Aga Khan’s eldest son Prince Rahim and his wife Princess Salwa (Kendra Salwa Spears) are expecting their first child, the spiritual leader…
Continue Reading »

CIVIC ELECTIONS

Surrey mayoral candidates share city visions at first meeting

AMY REID VANCOUVER DESI SURREY — Surrey mayoral candidates met for the city’s first all-candidates meeting Thursday night at SFU. Six of the seven candidates…
Continue Reading »

OTTAWA

Surrey MP Nina Grewal’s account of the shootout in Ottawa

NINA GREWAL SPECIAL TO IANS  When Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was speaking at about 9.30 a.m. Wednesday in a caucus room of parliament, we…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

CIVIC ELECTIONS

Surrey mayoral candidates share city visions at first meeting

AMY REID VANCOUVER DESI SURREY — Surrey mayoral candidates met for the city’s first all-candidates meeting Thursday night at SFU. Six of the seven candidates…
Continue Reading »

OTTAWA

Surrey MP Nina Grewal’s account of the shootout in Ottawa

NINA GREWAL SPECIAL TO IANS  When Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was speaking at about 9.30 a.m. Wednesday in a caucus room of parliament, we…
Continue Reading »

Parliament hill

Editorial Exchange: Rational responses needed

NEIL GODBOUT PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN, THE CANADIAN PRESS Canada’s innocence should have ended in 1970 with the FLQ crisis but it didn’t. It should have been…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

student dead

Two dead, including gunman, in school shooting north of Seattle

DOUG ESSER THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MARYSVILLE, Wash. — A student opened fire in a high school cafeteria north of Seattle on Friday, killing at least…
Continue Reading »

attack on Parliament Hill

Ottawa shooter kicked out of Burnaby mosque two years ago

Zehaf-Bibeau was asked to leave the mosque, because he had “gotten a hold of keys and stuff from the mosque, and when he got out…
Continue Reading »

labour laws violation

U.S. company penalized for mistreatment of Indian employees working 122 hours in a week

MICHAEL LIEDTKE THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SAN FRANCISCO – A Silicon Valley company is paying more than $43,000 in back wages and penalties after labour regulators…
Continue Reading »

DESI-SOCCER

Surrey soccer captain played the U-18 national club championship using only one foot

KYLE BENNING SURREY NOW SOUTH SURREY – Kyle Sohi’s perseverance and performance in the 2014 Sport Chek National Club Championships U-18 Cup Final might go…
Continue Reading »

SURREY-FIELD HOCKEY

Barinder Rasode announces plan to develop field hockey pitch in Surrey

Third field at Tamanawis Park would cost approximately $3 million KYLE BENNING SURREY NOW NEWTON – Barinder Rasode and the One Surrey team were at…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Stan Lee-Bollywood

Stan Lee plans Bollywood film on his first Indian superhero

VANCOUVER DESI Stan Lee, the legendary ‘Spiderman’ creator, is reportedly planning his Bollywood entry with a film on his Indian superhero character ‘Chakra: the Invincible’….
Continue Reading »

KANGANA RANAUT

Even my parents think I am weird, says Bollywood ‘Queen’ Kangana Ranaut

HINDUSTAN TIMES Kangana Ranaut has always made unconventional choices, be it her movies or the way she dresses. And the actor says she’s happy the…
Continue Reading »

Happy New Year-Bollywood

Happy New Year: Mandatory ‘formula’ and all those old Bollywood references

HINDUSTAN TIMES Film: Happy New Year Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood, Vivaan Shah, Jackie Shroff Director: Farah Khan…
Continue Reading »