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16 Jul, 2021 12:24

Pulitzer Prize-winning Reuters journalist Danish Siddiqui killed in crossfire between Taliban and Afghan security forces

Pulitzer Prize-winning Reuters journalist Danish Siddiqui killed in crossfire between Taliban and Afghan security forces

Danish Siddiqui, a Reuters journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2018, has died after being caught in crossfire between Afghan special forces and Taliban militants near the Pakistani border, where he was covering the conflict.

Siddiqui was killed on Friday after a clash between Afghan security forces and members of the Taliban broke out, with the terrorist group trying to reclaim a market in Spin Boldak, a town bordering Pakistan in southern Afghanistan. A senior Afghan commander also lost his life in the battle.

The photojournalist had earlier been shot in the arm on Friday. According to an Afghan commander, Siddiqui had been recovering from the wound and was speaking with local shopkeepers when the fighting restarted and the journalist ultimately lost his life.

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Siddiqui had been deployed earlier this week to work with the special services and cover the clashes between Afghan forces and the Taliban in Kandahar, in the south of the country.

The journalist shared his work on Twitter just two days before his passing. In a harrowing post, the Reuters journalist said that he “could feel the tension in the air as ASF [Afghan Special Forces] were expecting an imminent attack from the Taliban.”

Reuters president, Michael Friedenberg, and editor-in-chief, Alessandra Galloni, said they “are urgently seeking more information, working with authorities in the region” to find out more on the events surrounding the journalist’s death.

The Mumbai Press Club also paid tribute to the Indian journalist, heralding the late Siddiqui as “the bravest journalist,” saying that his legacy “leaves behind an extraordinary body of work.”

The photojournalist, who joined Reuters in 2010, has documented some grueling events in recent history across the world: from covering India’s coronavirus crisis, to anti-Muslim pogroms in Delhi last year. Siddiqui was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, a prestigious achievement for journalistic coverage, for his documentation of Rohingya Muslims in 2018.

Spin Boldak, the town where the journalist had been stationed, was taken by Taliban forces on Wednesday after heavy conflict across the province of Kandahar.

The Taliban have recently claimed that they control 85% of the country, a statement that is difficult to verify. Since the US made the decision to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by August 31 after two decades of involvement, the Pentagon has been watching the situation with “deep concern” as the terrorist group is gaining more and more territory in the war-torn country.

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