Danish Siddiqui, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Indian photojournalist who worked for Reuters news agency, was killed on Friday in Afghanistan while covering the fierce fighting between Afghan troops and the Taliban militants near a border crossing with Pakistan in Kandahar province.
Siddiqui, in his early 40s, was covering the worsening security situation in Kandahar over the last few days following the withdrawal of US troops from war-torn Afghanistan.
Afghan Special Forces had been fighting to retake the main market area of Spin Boldak in Kandahar province when Siddiqui and a senior Afghan officer were killed in what they described as Taliban crossfire, an Afghan commander told Reuters.
”We are deeply saddened to learn that our photographer, Danish Siddiqui, has been killed in Afghanistan,” Reuters President Michael Friedenberg and Editor-in-Chief Alessandra Galloni said in a statement.
He was embedded with Afghanistan’s special forces in Kandahar province when they came under attack on Friday morning.
”Danish was an outstanding, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, a devoted husband and father, and a much-loved colleague. Our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time,” they said.
”We are urgently seeking more information, working with authorities in the region,” the statement said.
The killing of Siddiqui comes as the Taliban captured Spin Boldak district in Kandahar this week. Fierce fighting has been underway in Kandahar, especially in Spin Boldak, for the last few days. Pakistan this week closed down the Friendship Gate crossing at the Chaman border in Balochistan province following reports of Taliban fighters taking control of the key border crossing point Spin Boldak in Afghanistan.
Clashes between the government forces and the Taliban have intensified since US troops began to withdraw from the country.
The Taliban recently claimed their fighters had retaken 85 per cent of territory in Afghanistan – a figure disputed by the government.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a total of 53 journalists have been killed in Afghanistan between 1992 and 2021.
Siddiqui was based in Mumbai. He had received the Pulitzer Prize as part of the Photography staff of Reuters news agency.
Siddiqui graduated with a degree in Economics from Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi. He had a degree in Mass Communication from the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre at Jamia in 2007.
He started his career as a television news correspondent, switched to photojournalism, and joined Reuters as an intern in 2010.