Danish Siddiqui, Reuters Photojournalist, was Killed in southern Kandahar province

Siddiqui posing for a photo in Kabul, Afghanistan in this July 8, 2021 image [Mohammad Ismail/Reuters]

July 16, 2021

Kandahar- Reuters journalist Danish Siddiqui has been killed while covering a clash between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters near a border crossing with Pakistan, an Afghan military official has said.

Afghan special forces had been fighting to retake the main market area of Spin Boldak district in southern Kandahar province when Siddiqui and a senior Afghan officer were killed in what they described as “Taliban crossfire”, the official told Reuters news agency on Friday morning.

Siddiqui was talking to shopkeepers when the Taliban attacked and was killed in a subsequent crossfire, an Afghan commander told Reuters.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters that the militant group had not been aware there was a journalist on the scene and said it was unclear how Siddiqui was killed.

AFJC demands Afghan authorities to conduct a swift and thorough investigation into the killing of Danish Siddiqui and rigorous action towards the safety of media employees in the field, the Afghanistan Journalists Center said today.  

 “We are incredibly saddened to learn of the killing of Danish Siddiqui, a huge loss of a brave journalist who cared deeply about the stories he covered, we send our solidarity to his family and colleagues,” AFJC Executive Director Ahmad Quraishi said in a statement.

“Mr. Seddiqui’s death is a reminder of the enormous risks that journalists face in Afghanistan, following the rapid withdrawal of US and NATO troops and increasing of Taliban attacks across the country,” Quraishi said

In 2018, Danish Seddiqui was part of a Reuters team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography for coverage of the Rohingya refugee crisis. His images of families fleeing on rickety boats to Bangladesh from neighboring Myanmar, where the military was conducting a campaign of ethnic cleansing, were printed in newspapers around the world.

A native of New Delhi, India, Ahmad Danish Siddiqi, 38, is survived by his wife and two young children. Siddiqui is the sixth journalist, media worker to be killed in Afghanistan this year.

According to the Afghanistan Journalists Death Watch, a total of 122 journalists and media workers have been killed in Afghanistan over the past two decades, with 6 journalists and media workers including 4 women losing their lives in 2021, most of them deliberately targeted.