Pulitzer Prize-winning Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui, working with Reuters news agency, was killed in Spin Boldak district of Kandahar, Afghanistan on Thursday night. He was on a reporting assignment to cover the ongoing operations against the Taliban and was embedded with Afghan Special Forces when his convoy was ambushed by the Taliban, confirms Tolo News, an Afghan media outlet.
Afghan ambassador Farid Mamundzay took to Twitter and wrote, “Deeply disturbed by the sad news of the killing of a friend, Danish Seddiqi in Kandahar last night. The Indian Journalist & winner of the Pulitzer Prize was embedded with Afghan security forces. I met him 2 weeks ago before his departure to Kabul. Condolences to his family & Reuters.”
Siddiqui, who was heading the new agency’s multimedia team in India, in a series of tweets on July 13, said that he “felt lucky to be safe” and gave the details on his reporting assignment with Afghan security forces.
He was covering the south of Afghanistan after the Taliban launched series of attacks to capture parts of the country including Kandahar, following the withdrawal of US-led forces.
He wrote, “The Humvee in which I was travelling with other special forces was also targeted by 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 was part of the seven-member Reuters team that bagged the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography in 2018, for a series which documented the Rohingya refugee crisis.
A master’s holder from AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, he joined as a television news correspondent. He later shifted to photojournalism and began his career with Reuters.
He covered wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, including the 2016 Battle of Mosul. He covered the Nepal earthquake, Hong Kong protests, 2020 Delhi Riots and most recently India’s battle against COVID-19.
A drone image of burning pyres taken by him in a Delhi crematorium, during the second wave of the pandemic, had brought global attention towards India.
Besides Reuters, his work was published in The New York Times, Time Magazine, Forbes, The Guardian, CNN and Al Jazeera.
His death has shaken the media fraternity across the globe.