Reuters journalist and award-winning photographer, Danish Siddiqui has been killed during a clash between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters on Friday.
Siddiqui, who had in the past reported at the venue of many crisis situations and even at scenes of the COVID 19 pandemic, was also in Afghanistan as a journalist since earlier this week, moving with the Afghan special forces, based in the southern province of Kandahar.
An Afghan commander who narrated the incident said the Reuters reporter was killed as he was covering the clash that ensued and got caught in the gunfire exchange near a border crossing with Pakistan.
Reuters President, Michael Friedenberg and Editor-in-Chief Alessandra Galloni, in a statement, said the news agency is still trying to get more information on how the incident happened through the Afghan authorities.
Friedenberg further said “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.”
The Afghan military official, who asked not to be identified, reported that Siddiqui had earlier been wounded in the arm by shrapnel while reporting on the clash. He was treated and Taliban fighters later retreated from the fighting in Spin Boldak.
Siddiqui had been talking to shopkeepers when the Taliban attacked again. Afghan special forces had been fighting to retake the main market area of Spin Boldak when Siddiqui and a senior Afghan officer were killed in what they described as Taliban crossfire, the Afghan commander said.
Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the Taliban had not been aware there was a journalist reporting from the site of what he described as a “fierce battle” and that it was not clear how Siddiqui had been killed.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has released a statement describing the journalist’s death as very saddening and shocking, he also extends condolences to Danish’s family and friends.
Siddiqui was part of the Reuters photography team to win the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for documenting the Rohingya refugee crisis, his searing photographs capturing the coronavirus pandemic in India have been published across the world, and he has been reporting on the fighting’s between Afghan commandos and Taliban fighters.
The United Nations reports that thirty-three journalists were killed in Afghanistan between 2018 and 2021.