October 20, 2021

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Reuters photographer killed in Afghanistan

4 min read

By DANICA KIRKA and KATHY GANNON

July 17, 2021 GMT

LONDON (AP) — A Pulitzer Prize-successful photographer for the Reuters news assistance was killed Friday as he chronicled battling involving Afghan forces and the Taliban near a strategic border crossing amid the continuing withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops.

Danish Siddiqui, 38, had been embedded with Afghan specific forces for the past handful of times and was killed as the commando device battled for command of the Spin Boldak crossing on the border in between southern Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Siddiqui was section of a crew that gained the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for aspect images for their coverage of Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar. A lot more lately, he experienced captured searing pictures of India’s battle against COVID-19 and protests from new farming legal guidelines.

Farhat Basir Khan, a professor of mass communications at Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi, lauded his former student’s perception of empathy and his dedication to go soon after tricky and sophisticated tales.

“He was our eye. He gave voice and company to hundreds whose struggling could possibly have been misplaced,” Khan mentioned in a statement. “If a image is worthy of a thousand text, his ended up really worth tens of millions.”

Siddiqui and a senior Afghan officer ended up killed as the special forces device fought to retake the main current market location in Spin Boldak, Reuters reported, citing the military.

The Taliban have turned over Siddiqui’s overall body to the Global Committee of the Red Cross, Indian authorities said.

Reuters stated it was seeking more information and facts about how Siddiqui was killed, describing him as a “devoted partner and father, and a significantly-beloved colleague.”

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“It is so devastating for me to picture that I won’t be chatting to Danish any longer,” mentioned Ahmad Masood, Asia Editor for Reuters Pics. “A sort-hearted human remaining. … He was the ideal of the very best, as a person and a specialist. His perform speaks volumes of his bravery and his enthusiasm in photojournalism. He cared.”

The combating all over Spin Boldak comes as the U.S. and NATO forces entire the remaining stage of their withdrawal from Afghanistan, opening the door for the Taliban to acquire regulate of huge swaths of territory. District right after district has fallen to the Taliban and the insurgents have in previous months seized quite a few vital border crossings, placing far more tension on the Afghan authorities and slicing off strategic trade routes.

A indigenous of New Delhi, Siddiqui was a self-taught photographer who had been a protection correspondent for a single of India’s major tv networks prior to he made a decision to modify professions.

Siddiqui explained he grew to become disappointed simply because television news targeted only on the big stories, not the small attributes from the inside of India that he required to discover, in accordance to a 2018 job interview with Forbes India. He still left his very well-compensated Television set career in 2010 to turn into an intern at Reuters.

A montage of his best get the job done compiled by Reuters incorporates images of common Indian wrestlers lined in mud, Hindu clergymen praying in a cave previously mentioned the River Ganges and a guy included in lint feeding cotton into growing older equipment by hand.

“While I delight in masking news stories – from business to politics to athletics – what I love most is capturing the human face of a breaking story,” he wrote in a profile on the Reuters web-site. “I seriously like covering problems that have an affect on people today as the consequence of distinctive type of conflicts.’’

Siddiqui and his colleagues have been honored with 2018 Pulitzer Prize for what the judges termed “shocking images that uncovered the world to the violence Rohingya refugees confronted in fleeing Myanmar.”

One particular of his prize-successful images exhibits an exhausted woman crumpled on the sand, although in the track record men powering her unload the boat that carried them to protection in Bangladesh.

Capturing the photos was tricky, as the photographers had to walk barefoot for up to 4 hrs by means of rice fields to reach the border place, Siddiqui advised Forbes.

“It’s an emotional detail also,” he claimed. “I am the father of a two-yr-previous and to see kids drowning is horrible. But, as a journalist, you have bought to do your position. I’m delighted I was equipped to … equilibrium career and emotion and know when to fall my digital camera to save children remaining in h2o by fishermen.’’

Siddiqui included the conflict Iraq, earthquakes in Nepal and demonstrations in Hong Kong. But in recent months he turned his lens on the COVID-19 pandemic in India, offering searing pictures of all those who experienced and died with out suitable health-related treatment and oxygen.

“I shoot for the typical person who would like to see and experience a story from a location in which he can not be present himself,” he wrote.

Integrated amongst the social media tributes to Siddiqui was a person of his posts from the Pulitzer Prize ceremony in New York. It showed a closeup of the title tag that recognized him as the “2018 Pulitzer Prize Winner Function Images.”

“For Sarah and Yunus,” he wrote earlier mentioned the image, remembering his youngsters as he obtained the prestigious award.

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Gannon reported from Islamabad. Affiliated Press writers Rahim Faiez in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Krutika Pathi and Ashok Sharma in New Delhi contributed to this report.

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