Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Danish Siddiqui killed in Afghanistan

Danish Siddiqui was covering clashes between Afghan forces and the Taliban.

July 16, 2021, 3:26 PM

LONDON and KABUL -- Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was killed in southern Afghanistan while covering clashes between the country's special forces and the Taliban. He was 38.

Siddiqui, an Indian national and a chief photographer for the Reuters news agency, was embedded with Afghan troops in the southern province of Kandahar, a former Taliban stronghold, where he was reporting on the fighting when he lost his life.

PHOTO: Reuters photographer Danish Siddiqui covers the monsoon floods and landslides in the upper reaches of Govindghat, India, June 22, 2013.
Reuters photographer Danish Siddiqui covers the monsoon floods and landslides in the upper reaches of Govindghat, India, June 22, 2013. Afghan government forces battled Friday to retake a border crossing with Pakistan from Taliban insurgents, and the Reuters news agency said Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Siddiqui, who was embedded with the Afghan special forces, was killed, July 16, 2021.
Rafiq Maqbool/AP, FILE

A local official told ABC News that a convoy carrying Afghan special forces along with Siddiqui was ambushed by the Taliban in the area of Spin Boldak, a strategic border crossing along the frontier with Pakistan that the group claimed to have seized earlier this week.

Reuters said Friday morning that it was "urgently seeking more information" and "working with authorities in the region."

"Danish was an outstanding journalist, a devoted husband and father, and a much-loved colleague," Reuters president Michael Friedenberg and editor-in-chief Alessandra Galloni said in a joint statement. "Our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time."

The Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) said it was "deeply saddened" by Siddiqui's death.

"So far, AJSC has not managed to obtain verified information on how he was killed," the Kabul-based organization said in a statement Friday. "AJSC condemns this killing and calls on the Afghan government to investigate the incident in a speedy manner and share its findings."

PHOTO: Danish Siddiqui, a Reuters photographer based in India, poses for a picture at Columbia University's Low Memorial Library during the Pulitzer Prize ceremony, in New York, May 30, 2018.
Danish Siddiqui, a Reuters photographer based in India, poses for a picture at Columbia University's Low Memorial Library during the Pulitzer Prize ceremony, in New York, May 30, 2018.
Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters

Siddiqui was among the Reuters photography staff to win the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for documenting the violence Rohingya refugees faced as they fled Myanmar. He had worked for the news agency since 2010, covering various crises around the world.

According to a report released earlier this year by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, 33 journalists were killed in the country during the period from Jan. 1, 2018, to Jan. 31, 2021.

PHOTO: A member of the Afghan Special Forces drives a humvee during a combat mission against Taliban, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, July 11, 2021.
A member of the Afghan Special Forces drives a humvee during a combat mission against Taliban, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, July 11, 2021.
Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Siddiqui's death came as the Taliban continues to make sweeping advances across Afghanistan amid the withdrawal of foreign troops. The group has claimed it now controls most of the nation as the U.S. military winds down its presence there.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan with an iron fist from 1996 to 2001, until a U.S.-led invasion removed the regime from power for providing refuge to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and other prime suspects of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The military operation turned into America's longest war.

U.S. President Joe Biden has said that the military withdrawal, which began in May, will be completed by Aug. 31. During a press conference last week, Biden defended his decision to bring home American troops from Afghanistan, telling reporters "the status quo was not an option," and he rejected the notion that a Taliban takeover of the country was inevitable.

"We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build. And it's the right and the responsibility of Afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country," Biden said. "I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan with no reasonable expectation of achieving a different outcome."

See photos from Danish Saddiqui below.

PHOTO: An exhausted Rohingya refugee touches the shore after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border by boat through the Bay of Bengal, in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh Sept. 11, 2017.
An exhausted Rohingya refugee touches the shore after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border by boat through the Bay of Bengal, in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh Sept. 11, 2017.
Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
PHOTO: A worker uses metal cutter to dismantled parts of decommissioned Indian Navy Ship INS Vikrant at a ship breaking yard in Mumbai, Nov. 24, 2014.
A worker uses metal cutter to dismantled parts of decommissioned Indian Navy Ship INS Vikrant at a ship breaking yard in Mumbai, Nov. 24, 2014.
Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
PHOTO: A Rohingya refugee pulls a child to the shore after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border by boat through the Bay of Bengal in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, Sept. 10, 2017.
A Rohingya refugee pulls a child to the shore after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border by boat through the Bay of Bengal in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, Sept. 10, 2017.
Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
PHOTO: Patients suffering from COVID-19 get treatment in the casualty ward in Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital in New Delhi, India on April 15, 2021.
Patients suffering from COVID-19 get treatment in the casualty ward in Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital in New Delhi, India on April 15, 2021.
Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
PHOTO: Victims of COVID-10 are prepared for mass cremation in New Delhi, April 28, 2021.
Victims of COVID-10 are prepared for mass cremation in New Delhi, April 28, 2021.
Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
PHOTO: A protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask waves a flag during a Human Rights Day march, organized by the Civil Human Right Front, in Hong Kong, Dec. 8, 2019.
A protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask waves a flag during a Human Rights Day march, organized by the Civil Human Right Front, in Hong Kong, Dec. 8, 2019.
Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
PHOTO: A Hindu holy man wears a mask before the procession to the Ganges river during Shahi Snan at "Kumbh Mela", or the Pitcher Festival, during the COVID-19 pandeminc, in Haridwar, India, April 12, 2021.
A Hindu holy man wears a mask before the procession to the Ganges river during Shahi Snan at "Kumbh Mela", or the Pitcher Festival, during the COVID-19 pandeminc, in Haridwar, India, April 12, 2021.
Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
PHOTO: Relatives of patrons listen to priests as they chant during evening prayers at the Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014.
Relatives of patrons listen to priests as they chant during evening prayers at the Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 17, 2014.
Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
PHOTO: A Rohingya refugee boy sits inside a temporary shelter near Balukhali in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Sept. 12, 2017.
A Rohingya refugee boy sits inside a temporary shelter near Balukhali in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Sept. 12, 2017.
Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
PHOTO: A soldier eats ice cream during a visit to a zoo in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sept. 12, 2018.
A soldier eats ice cream during a visit to a zoo in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sept. 12, 2018.
Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
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