A Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer with Reuters news agency was killed on Friday covering clashes between Afghan security forces and the Taliban near a border crossing with Pakistan, media reported and quoted an army commander.
Afghan forces fought to retake Spin Boldak when Danish Siddiqui and a senior officer were killed in a Taliban crossfire, the commander told Reuters.
The agency reported that Siddiqui, an Indian citizen, had been embedded with Afghan special forces in the former Taliban bastion in Kandahar since this week.
“We are rather looking for more information and working with authorities in the region,” Reuters president Michael Friedenberg and editor-in-chief Alessandra Galloni said in a statement.
“Dane was an outstanding journalist, a devoted husband and father and a much-loved colleague. Our thoughts are with his family at this awful time.”
We are deeply saddened by the news of the tragic death of the award-winning photojournalist Danish Siddiqui. The bravest journalist, a Dane, leaves behind an extraordinary body. Prayers and good memories are what we have to remember our dearly deceased. pic.twitter.com/slu5k6whqS
– Mumbai Press Club (@mumbaipressclub) July 16, 2021
Reuters said Siddiqui, 38, had previously reported being injured in the arm by shrapnel while covering the fighting.
He was treated and had recovered when Taliban fighters withdrew from the fighting in Spin Boldak.
The agency reported that an unnamed Afghan commander told them that Siddiqui had spoken to businessmen 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 to document the refugee crisis in Rohingya.
Danish Siddiqui’s burning images of Rohingya refugees, Delhi pogroms and India’s Covid crisis will always be imprinted in our minds. pic.twitter.com/SMwgmiLNTG
– Shalini (@ ShaliniNair13) July 16, 2021
The agency said he had worked for them since 2010 and covered wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Rohingya refugee crisis, Hong Kong protests and earthquakes in Nepal.
Afghanistan has long been one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.
In May, the media Watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked 122nd out of 180 countries on its 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 forces.
He told stories through his pictures. He fought for the oppressed with his lens. We have lost a brilliant and fearless photojournalist today. Rest in peace, #DanishSiddiqui. This is a great loss to humanity. pic.twitter.com/ZBbhSOHBDD
– Hasiba | 🌈سيبة 🌈 (@HasibaAmin) July 16, 2021
Prominent TV anchors, journalists and freelancers have been shot dead in rush hour traffic in Kabul and other cities, while points have been threatened.
Officials blame the Taliban for the killings, although some killings have been claimed by the jihadist Islamic State.
About 1,000 Afghan employees have left their jobs, an Afghan journalist’s security committee said in May.
“Threats and violence against journalists have a direct impact on the media and make their work particularly difficult,” RSF said.