July 30, 2021

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Reuters Photographer Danish Siddiqui Killed in Afghanistan

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KABUL, Afghanistan — The Pulitzer Prize-successful photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was killed whilst covering a clash involving Afghan stability forces and the Taliban on Friday, as battling among the insurgents and authorities troops intensifies throughout the state.

Mr. Siddiqui, an Indian nationwide and Reuters staff members journalist, was embedded with customers of Afghanistan’s elite unique forces in the southern province of Kandahar, a previous Taliban stronghold. He was killed on Friday early morning when Afghan commandos, attempting to retake a district surrounding a border crossing with Pakistan, came beneath Taliban hearth, in accordance to Reuters.

“We are urgently seeking extra information and facts, performing with authorities in the location,” Michael Friedenberg, the president of Reuters, and Alessandra Galloni, the information agency’s editor in main, explained in a joint assertion. “Danish was an fantastic journalist, a devoted husband and father, and a much-liked colleague. Our views are with his relatives at this awful time.”

Credit score…Reuters

Mr. Siddiqui, 38, had been a Reuters journalist given that 2010 and coated gatherings throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East, such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In modern several years, he had gained a standing between his peers in India for capturing some of the most strong images of a turbulent time in the place and the location surrounding it.

In 2018, he was element of a Reuters staff awarded the Pulitzer Prize for element images for coverage of the Rohingya refugee crisis. His photographs of family members fleeing on rickety boats to Bangladesh from neighboring Myanmar, where the navy was conducting a campaign of ethnic cleaning, were being printed in newspapers all around the planet.

Mr. Siddiqui is the first overseas reporter to be killed in the Afghan conflict due to the fact U.S. and global forces commenced withdrawing from the place in May perhaps and the Taliban began a sweeping army offensive, killing hundreds of authorities troops and displacing tens of countless numbers of civilians. In just above two months, the insurgents have seized all-around 170 of the country’s around 400 districts — only a handful of which have been retaken by government forces.

The Taliban offensive has mostly focused on rural districts. But since early July, the insurgents have seized a string of important cities together Afghanistan’s borders with Iran, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan, and have pushed their way into 4 provincial capitals. Past 7 days, the Taliban penetrated Kandahar city, Afghanistan’s 2nd most significant town, and this 7 days captured an essential border crossing with Pakistan, Spin Boldak, in Kandahar Province.

Mr. Siddiqui had been embedded with the Afghan commandos in Kandahar in new days to report on their endeavours to retake areas of the province, in accordance to Reuters. In a sequence of Twitter posts on Tuesday, Mr. Siddiqui described a rescue mission where by commandos tried to save a law enforcement officer trapped by Taliban insurgents on the outskirts of Kandahar town.

“I could truly feel the pressure in the air as A.S.F. had been anticipating an imminent assault from the Taliban,” he wrote, referring to the Afghan exclusive forces. “There was sporadic device gun fire, but all hell broke free as the Humvees reached the extraction place.”

Taliban insurgents fired on the commandos’ convoy, he said. A video clip he posted shows the vivid yellow and orange flash of a rocket-propelled grenade hitting the armored plating of the Humvee in which he was riding.

On Friday morning, as Afghan commandos started the operation to retake dropped ground in the Spin Boldak district they achieved with Taliban resistance, according to Reuters.

Mr. Siddiqui and many members of the Afghan safety forces — such as an Afghan exclusive forces commander, Sadiq Karzai — were being killed in the combating, regional officers explained.

Mr. Siddiqui’s loss of life comes at a notably dangerous instant for journalists in the state. The United Nations estimates that 65 journalists, media professionals and human legal rights defenders had been killed in Afghanistan from January 2018 to January 2021. Due to the fact peace talks between the Afghan authorities and the Taliban commenced very last yr, assaults on journalists have sharply amplified, in accordance to a modern Human Rights Check out report.

Just after the news of Mr. Siddiqui’s death, the Afghan Journalists Protection Committee urged journalists covering the conflict to choose all important safeguards and named on the Taliban and govt forces to assure their safety.

Tributes to the photographer flooded social media.

“From humanitarian crises to life-threatening violence, Danish Siddiqui has captured some of the most iconic, defining pictures of the last ten years,” Fatima Khan, a correspondent for The Print India, said on Twitter.

This spring, Mr. Siddiqui photographed the devastation the coronavirus wreaked across his house nation of India. His haunting, nearly submit-apocalyptic, photographs of crowded cremation grounds had been credited widely all around the globe as the gauge of the devastation even though the Indian federal government experimented with to downplay the crisis.

The yr before, his get the job done was at the centre of news coverage soon after Primary Minister Narendra Modi amended the country’s citizenship laws in a way that was found as discriminatory towards Muslims and protests erupted in India. Mr. Siddiqui’s photograph of a teenage appropriate-wing activist brandishing a pistol at protesters, and opening fireplace as a row of law enforcement officers stood behind him, was broadly circulated as proof of the emboldening of Hindu nationalists in India.

“What he did truly, really effectively was he discovered those people people, he identified those people faces by way of which to inform the story, to make you experience anything,” mentioned Rahul Bhatia, a former Reuters colleague. “Because following a certain level you are inured to all the stuff that goes on close to you in this place. What he did, by presenting you a experience, was to clearly show the sheer scale of the ordeal.”

Mr. Siddiqui is survived by a spouse and two small children, in accordance to a Reuters colleague in Delhi.

Mujib Mashal contributed reporting from New Delhi, and Taimoor Shah from Kandahar, Afghanistan.

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