Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Danish Siddiqui, 38, was killed on Friday while covering a clash between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters near a border crossing with Pakistan.
Afghan special forces were fighting to retake the main market area of Spin Boldak in the Kandahar district of Afghanistan when Siddiqui, who worked for Reuters and a senior Afghan officer, were killed in what Afghan officials described as Taliban crossfire.
Siddiqui is survived by his wife Rike and two young children.
Earlier this week, Siddiqui had been embedded with Afghan special forces in Kandahar to cover the conflict in the region. He had been covering the Afghan-Taliban clashes for Reuters over the last few days.
On Friday, Siddiqui had told Reuters that he had been wounded in the arm by shrapnel while reporting on the clash. He was treated and had been recovering when Taliban fighters retreated from the fighting in Spin Boldak.
Siddiqui had been talking to shopkeepers when the Taliban attacked again, the Afghan commander said.
“We are urgently seeking more information, working 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.”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “My condolences to the family and friends of Danish Siddiqui. I appeal to GOI to facilitate bringing his mortal remains back home at the earliest”.
Siddiqui graduated with a degree in Economics from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He also had a degree in Mass Communication from the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre at the same institute. He began his career as a television news correspondent and later joined Reuters as an intern in 2010. He lived in Mumbai.
Siddiqui was a largely self-taught photographer who scaled the heights of his profession while documenting wars, riots and human suffering.
In 2018, Danish Siddiqui and his colleague Adnan Abidi became the first Indians to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for documenting the Rohingya refugee crisis.
Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said he is deeply saddened with the news of Siddiqui’s killing. “I am deeply saddened with the shocking reports that Reuters Photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was killed while covering the Taliban atrocities in Kandahar,” Ghani said in a tweet.
“While I extend my heartfelt condolences to Mr Siddiqui’s family and also to our media family. I reiterate my government’s unwavering commitment to freedom of speech and protection of free media and journalists,” he added.
(With inputs from Reuters)