Posted in Announcements

Kathy Gannon named news director for Afghanistan and Pakistan

, by Patrick Maks

Vice President for International News Ian Phillips and Middle East News Director Karin Laub today announced a key appointment, sending this memo to staff:

Colleagues: Veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon has been appointed news director for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Gannon’s expertise and depth of knowledge about Afghanistan and Pakistan are unrivaled. She is bringing more than three decades of reporting experience in the region to this job. Gannon has covered the region since 1988, a period that spans the withdrawal of Russian soldiers from Afghanistan, the assassination of Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto, the bitter Afghan civil war between Islamic factions and the rise and fall of the Taliban. Gannon was the only Western journalist allowed in Kabul by the Taliban in the weeks preceding the 2001 U.S.-British offensive in Afghanistan. In April 2014, Gannon was seriously wounded while covering preparations for Afghan national elections when an Afghan police officer opened fire on the car in which she was riding. Her colleague and close friend, AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus, was killed in the attack.
News Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan Kathy Gannon. (AP Photo)
She underwent 18 surgeries and returned to Afghanistan and Pakistan where she has explored sexual abuse in Islamic madrassas, took a deep dive into so-called honor killings of hundreds of women at the hands of their family members each year and followed Taliban’s sweep through Afghanistan. In 2019, she covered another presidential election in Afghanistan. Going forward, she will be leading coverage on the U.S. troop drawdown in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s struggles with Islamic fundamentalism, the resurgence of Islamic State extremists and a host of other issues. Gannon is a native of Timmins, Ontario. She was the city editor at the Kelowna Courier in British Columbia and worked at several Canadian newspapers before her career took her overseas. She has lived in Israel, Japan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the International Women’s Media Foundation Courage In Journalism Award, the Overseas Press Club Award for best newspaper or wire service reporting from abroad and AP’s Oliver S. Gramling Award in Journalism. In 2005, Gannon authored “I is for Infidel: From Holy War, to Holy Terror, 18 Years Inside Afghanistan,” an examination of the Taliban and post-Taliban period, published by PublicAffairs.