Pulitzer Prize-winning Indian Reuters photographer Danish Siddiqui murdered in Afghanistan

A Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer at the Reuters news agency was killed Friday as he covered fighting between Afghan security forces and the Taliban at a border crossing with Pakistan, the media reported, citing an army commander.

Afghan forces were fighting to retake Spin Boldak when Danish Siddiqui and a senior officer were killed in Taliban crossfire, the commander told Reuters.

The agency reported that Siddiqui, an Indian national, had been embedded with Afghan special forces at the former Taliban bastion of Kandahar as of this week.

“We are urgently seeking more information, in conjunction with authorities in the region,” Reuters president Michael Friedenberg and editor-in-chief Alessandra Galloni said in a statement.

“Danish was an outstanding journalist, a devoted husband and father and a much-loved colleague. Our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time.”

We are deeply saddened by the news of the tragic death of award-winning photojournalist employed Danish Siddiqui. The bravest journalist, Deen, leaves behind an extraordinary body of work. Prayers and fond memories are what we should remember of our dear departed. pic.twitter.com/slu5k6whqS

— Mumbai Press Club (@mumbaipressclub) July 16, 2021

Reuters said Siddiqui, 38, had previously reported being wounded in the arm by shrapnel while covering the fighting.

He was being treated and was recovering when Taliban fighters withdrew from the fighting in Spin Boldak.

The agency reported that an unnamed Afghan commander told them Siddiqui had been talking to shopkeepers when the Taliban attacked again.

It said it could not independently verify the details.

Siddiqui was part of a team to share the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for documenting the Rohingya refugee crisis.

The scorching images of the Danish Siddiqui of the Rohingya refugees, the pogrom in Delhi and the Covid crisis in India will be etched in our memories forever. pic.twitter.com/SMwgmiLNTG

— Shalini (@ShaliniNair13) July 16, 2021

The agency said he had worked for them since 2010, including on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Rohingya refugee crisis, the protests in Hong Kong and the earthquakes in Nepal.

Afghanistan has long been one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.

In May, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) placed it 122nd out of 180 countries on the latest World Press Freedom Index.

Several journalists, including women, have been killed in targeted attacks since the Taliban and Washington signed an agreement in February 2020 that paved the way for the withdrawal of foreign troops.

He told stories through his photos. He fought for the oppressed with his lens. We have lost a brilliant and intrepid photojournalist today. Rest in peace, #DanishSiddiqui. This is a great loss to humanity. pic.twitter.com/ZBbhSOHBDD

— Hasiba | حسيبة 🌈 (@HasibaAmin) Jul 16, 2021

Prominent television hosts, reporters and freelancers have been shot dead during rush hour in Kabul and other cities, while dozens of people have been threatened.

Officials blame the killings on the Taliban, although some have been claimed by the jihadist Islamic State.

About 1,000 Afghan media workers have quit their jobs, a security committee of Afghan journalists said in May.

“The threats and violence against journalists have a direct impact on the media and make their work extremely difficult,” RSF said.


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