A PULITZER-prize winning Reuters photojournalist has been killed in Kandahar while reporting on the conflict in Afghanistan.
Danish Siddiqui was killed by Taliban gunfire while reporting on efforts by the Afghan Special Forces to retake the main market area of Spin Boldok, near the border with Pakistan.
His death was confirmed in a joint statement from Reuters president Michael Friedenberg and editor-in-chief Alessandra Galloni, with the pair saying they were “urgently seeking more information, working with authorities in the region”.
Siddiqui had worked for the respected news agency since 2010.
Afghan ambassador Farid Mamundzay said in a tweet: “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."
Afghanistan’s Tolo News channel cited sources as saying that Siddiqui was killed in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar. It didn’t give further details.
Siddiqui had recently reported on a mission by Afghan special forces to rescue a policeman who had been cut off from others and had fought the Taliban for hours on his own.
His reports included graphic images of vehicles of the Afghan forces being targeted with rockets.
Siddiqui was injured on Thursday, however, he continued with his work after getting first aid before they were ambushed on Friday.
Fierce fighting has been reported in and around the southern city of Kandahar, the capital of the province of the same name.
The Taliban have captured key districts near the city and engaged Afghan forces in a police district on the outskirts of the capital.
India evacuated some 50 diplomats, support staff and security personnel from the consulate in Kandahar on an Indian Air Force flight on July 10 amid growing concerns about the security situation in the city.
Over the past few days, Spin Boldak district has witnessed heavy fighting after the Taliban captured a key border crossing that links to Chaman in Pakistan’s Balochistan province.
Siddiqui was part of the Reuters photography team to win the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for documenting the Rohingya refugee crisis.
Siddiqui's work spanned covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Rohingya refugees crisis, the Hong Kong protests and Nepal earthquakes.
Taliban fighters had captured the border area on Wednesday, the second-largest crossing on the border with Pakistan and one of the most important objectives they have achieved during a rapid advance across the country as US forces pull out.
More to follow…
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