February 5, 2023

Published from Mumbai, Delhi & Bhopal

Pulitzer-winning Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui killed in Taliban attack

New Delhi: Pulitzer Prize-winning Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui, employed with news agency Reuters, was killed while reporting in Afghanistan’s Spin Boldak district of Kandahar on Thursday night. For the last few days, he had been covering the situation in Kandahar.

Afghanistan’s Tolo News channel cited sources as saying that Siddiqui was killed in Spin Boldak district of Kandahar. It added that Sediq Karzai, an Afghan special forces commander in Kandahar, was killed in the same incident.

“Danish Siddiqui, a Reuters photojournalist, was killed in clashes in Spin Boldak district in Kandahar, sources confirmed. The Indian journalist was covering the situation in Kandahar over the last few days,” Afghanistan-based Tolo News tweeted.

Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India Farid Mamundzay took to Twitter to state that he was killed in Kandahar on Thursday night.

“Deeply disturbed by the sad news of the killing of a friend, Danish Seddiqi in Kandahar last night. The Indian Journalist & winner of Pulitzer Prize was embedded with Afghan security forces. I met him 2 weeks ago before his departure to Kabul. Condolences to his family & Reuters,” Mamundzay tweeted.

In other tweets in Hindi, Mamundzay said Siddiqui, the chief photographer for Reuters in India, was with “Afghan security forces when they were attacked by terrorists” in Kandahar province on Friday.

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 was described as Taliban crossfire, Reuters reported quoting officials.

Siddiqui had been embedded with Afghan special forces in southern Kandahar province since earlier this week and was reporting on fighting between Afghan commandos and Taliban fighters.

Just three days ago, Danish shared a Twitter thread on his reportage in Kandahar. He also shared visuals of the Taliban attacking the car that he was travelling in.

“The Humvee in which I was travelling with other special forces was also targeted by at least 3 RPG rounds and other weapons. I was lucky to be safe and capture the visual of one of the rockets hitting the armour plate overhead,” Danish had written on Tuesday. 

Danish’s recent work on the Covid-19 pandemic in India, where he extensively covered the hospitals, graveyards and mass cremations, was widely appreciated across the globe.

He was part of a Reuters team that won a Pulitzer for its coverage of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. He also won praise for his images of communal violence in northeast Delhi in 2020.

In a profile of himself on the Reuters website, Siddiqui had written: “I shoot for the common man who wants to see and feel a story from a place where he can’t be present himself.”

The Mumbai-based photojournalist also wrote: “While I enjoy covering news stories – from business to politics to sports – what I enjoy most is capturing the human face of a breaking story.”

India evacuated some 50 diplomats, support staff and security personnel from the consulate in Kandahar on an Indian Air Force flight on July 10 amid growing concerns about the security situation in the city.

Over the past few days, Spin Boldak district has witnessed heavy fighting after the Taliban captured the key border crossing that links to Chaman in Pakistan’s Balochistan province. Reports on Thursday said Afghan forces had recaptured the crossing, though this was denied by the Taliban.

Hindi Website