2 Journalists Shot in Afghanistan ahead of Presidential Elections, 1 Dead

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By Raymond Ronamai | April 4, 2014 10:18 PM EST

An unidentified gunman shot two foreign journalists in eastern Afghanistan on Friday, killing one and severely injuring the other, said local officials.

Reuters
A police officer mans a checkpoint as part of the increased security measures ahead of Afghanistan's elections in Jalalabad

The man who opened fire is understood to be a police officer. The two journalists have been working for the Associated Press (AP).

"Naqibullah, a policeman in Tani district of Khost, opened fire on two foreign journalists. One was killed and one was wounded," Khost provincial spokesman Mobariz Zadran told Reuters.

The journalist killed was a camera operator from Germany, while the one injured is from Canada, Khost spokesman Baryalay Rawan told CNN

The incident took place in a remote village near the border with Pakistan. The journalists were with an official from the Independent Election Commission when they were shot at, an interior ministry source told the BBC.

Police have arrested the suspect and an investigation is underway. The reason for the attack is not known yet. The AP is yet to make a statement on the attack on its employees.

The shooting came despite nearly 2,00,000 troops being deployed across the country for the presidential and provincial elections on Saturday, anticipating disturbances from Taliban insurgents.

Afghanistan has witnessed a series of violent attacks and killings in the last few weeks, leading up to the presidential elections. A provincial council candidate and nine of his supporters were kidnapped and shot dead by the Taliban on Tuesday. Six police officers were killed on Wednesday, after a suicide bomber blew himself up at the gate of the Interior Ministry in Kabul; an attack of which the Taliban have claimed responsibility.

Two journalists were killed in Afghanistan last month as well. Sardar Ahmad, a senior reporter for Agence France-Presse (AFP), was killed along with eight other people by the Taliban insurgents. Nils Horner, a correspondent for Sveriges Radio, was shot dead in a separate incident.

The Taliban militants have pledged to disrupt the presidential and provincial elections, scheduled to take place on 5 April, and threatened those involved in it.

A total of eight candidates, including Abdullah Abdullah, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Zalmai Rassoul, are in the fray for the presidential post as Hamid Karzai, who has been in power since 2001, cannot remain in office for a third consecutive term, according to the constitution of the country.

(Edited by Vishnuprasad S Pillai) 

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(Photo: Reuters / )
A police officer mans a checkpoint as part of the increased security measures ahead of Afghanistan's elections in Jalalabad
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