Reuters photojournalist Danish Siddiqui, who was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team for feature photography in 2018, was killed in Afghanistan on Friday amid a clash between Taliban fighters and government forces.
The gunfire broke out at the central market in the town of Spin Boldak in southern Afghanistan, where Siddiqui had been dispatched earlier in the week to cover escalating violence in the region.
Siddiqui, who was reportedly killed alongside a senior government official, had been in conversation with local merchants when shooting began.
“We are urgently seeking more information, working with authorities in the region,” Reuters president Michael Friedenberg and editor-in-chief Alessandra Galloni said in a statement.
“Danish was an outstanding journalist, a devoted husband and father, and a much-loved colleague,” they added. “Our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time.”
A Taliban spokesperson told Reuters the group was not aware a journalist was in the area when the “fierce battle” began.
It remains unclear exactly how Siddiqui was killed. Earlier in the day, he had been wounded by shrapnel and was treated by medical officials.
Three days before he was killed, Siddiqui published a report of another clash in the town of Kandahar, two hours north of Spin Boldak.
Included in the report was filmed footage of Siddiqui and Afghan commandos driving through the town in a humvee as it got hit by a Taliban rocket.
In a statement published on Twitter, Afghan president Ashraf Ghani said he was “deeply saddened” by Siddiqui’s death, according to Reuters.
Siddiqui won the Pulitzer alongside Reuters colleagues for “shocking photographs that exposed the world to the violence Rohingya refugees faced in fleeing Myanmar,” according to the awards committee.
Based in India, Siddiqui began working for Reuters in 2010, covering protests in Hong Kong, natural disasters in Nepal, and violence in Iraq.
Before being sent to Afghanistan, he also covered the tolls of the coronavirus outbreak in India.