An award-winning Indian journalist associated with the Reuters news agency was killed in the crossfire between the Afghan security forces and the Taliban in southern Kandahar province, officials confirmed on Friday.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency from Kandahar, an eyewitness Ruh Ullah said the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist was embedded with the Afghan security forces when he got caught in the crossfire.
Afghan Ambassador to India Farid Mamundzay also confirmed the death of the photographer.
According to the local TV channel Tolo News, Siddiqui was based in Mumbai and had received the Pulitzer Prize for the photographs he had clicked for Reuters.
A graduate of Mass Communication from Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi, he had started his career as a television news correspondent, then switched to photojournalism, and joined Reuters as an intern in 2010.
In the past 21 years since the US invasion of Afghanistan, at least 120 local and foreign journalists have lost their lives, according to the Afghanistan Journalists Federation.
The situation for the media professionals and journalists working in Afghanistan got worst from 2014 onwards when most of the foreign troops left the war-ravaged country and the country’s nascent security forces took the charge.
Last month, Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) urged the International Criminal Court to probe killings of Afghan journalists and media professionals. According to the RSF, all these journalists and media workers were targeted while performing their professional duties.
Afghan Defense Ministry said that they have launched an operation in Kandahar to reclaim the Spin Boldak crossing point with Pakistan from the Taliban.
In a statement issued on Thursday evening, Vice President Amrullah Saleh said that the Pakistani Army had warned the Afghan Air Force against conducting air raids against the Taliban near the crossing point, a claim rejected by Islamabad.