Indian photojouralist Danish Siddiqui was killed while covering a clash between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters in Spin Boldak district of Kandahar city on Friday. He was on a reporting assignment embedded with the Afghan Special Forces.
Condoling Danish Siddiqui’s demise, Farid Mamundzay, the Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India, tweeted: “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.”
Danish Siddiqui, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, had started his career as a television news correspondent and later switched to photojournalism. He was a photojournalist with international news agency Reuters and worked as a correspondent with the India Today Group from September 2008 to January 2010
In 2018, Danish Siddiqui and his colleague Adnan Abidi had won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for documenting the Rohingya Refugee Crisis as part of the Reuters team.
As a photojournalist, Danish Siddiqui covered wide rage of issues across the world. Some of his major works include covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Rohingya refugees crisis, Hong Kong protests and Nepal earthquakes.
For over the last few days, Danish Siddiqui was covering the situation in Afghanistan’s Kandahar amid heightened tension in the area. He had tagged along with the Afghan Special Forces on some missions, he informed via a tweet. He reportedly died when the Afghan Special Forces came under attack by Taliban.
Danish Siddiqui’s last story was about a mission in which Afghan commandos were trying to extract a wounded policeman trapped by Taliban insurgents on the outskirts of Kandahar.
On June 13, he had reported that the vehicle he and other special forces were travelling in was targeted with 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,” he had said in of his tweets.
Danish Siddiqui was killed amid clashes between the Taliban and government forces, which have intensified as US-led international forces have been withdrawing from the area. The Taliban have captured several districts and border crossings in the north and west.
The government has accused the Taliban of destroying hundreds of government buildings in 29 of the country’s 34 provinces. The Taliban deny accusations of extensive destruction by their fighters.
A senior Afghan government official in Kabul, Nader Nadery, said the security forces were working to push back Taliban fighters and regain control over 190 districts.
The deteriorating security situation has raised fears of a new Afghan refugee crisis. President Ashraf Ghani met regional leaders in Uzbekistan on Thursday and Pakistan said it would host a conference of senior Afghan leaders in an effort to find solutions.
India has pulled around 50 Indian diplomats and security officials posted in its consulate in Kandahar in view of the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan
The Indian embassy had also asked all Indians visiting, staying and working in Afghanistan to exercise the utmost caution with regard to their security and avoid all types of non-essential travel in view of rising incidents of violence in various parts of the country.