The Taliban denied their role in the killing of Pulitzer Prize-winning Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui, who was embedded with the Afghan forces in Kandahar, during clashes between them and Afghan forces.
“We are not aware during whose firing the journalist was killed. We do not know how he died," Taliban’s spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid told CNN-News18 on 16 July.
“Any journalist entering the war zone should inform us. We will take proper care of that particular individual. We are sorry for Indian journalist Danish Siddiqui’s death. We regret that journalists are entering war zone without intimation to us," he added.
Siddiqui, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018, worked for Reuters news agency and was killed on Friday in Spin Boldak, near the border with Pakistan.
Siddiqui's Death A Tremendous Loss for the World: US
The United States administration and the country’s lawmakers have mourned the death of the journalist.
“We are deeply saddened to hear that Reuters photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was killed while covering fighting in Afghanistan. Siddiqui was celebrated for his work on some of the world’s most urgent and challenging news stories and for creating striking images that conveyed a wealth of emotion and the human face behind the headlines,” said Jalina Porter, Principal Deputy Spokesperson at the US Department of State.
“Siddiqui's death is a tremendous loss, not only for Reuters and for his media colleagues but also for the rest of the world. Far too many journalists have been killed in Afghanistan. We continue to call for an end to the violence. A just and durable peace settlement is the only way forward in Afghanistan,” Porter said, reported The Tribune.
Attack Was a Painful Reminder of Dangers Facing Media: UN
Deputy Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General called for an investigation into the murders of journalists, stating this attack was a painful reminder of mounting dangers faced by the media in Afghanistan.
“Media working in Afghanistan and journalism itself in the country is under increasing threat. Our deep condolences to family and friends of Reuters journalist Danish Siddiqui,” he said at the daily press briefing on 16 July.
The Afghan Journalists Safety Committee also condemned the killing and called on the the country’s government to investigate the incident. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan also demanded an inquiry and said Siddiqui’s death was a “painful reminder of mounting dangers faced by media” in the country.
(With inputs from CNN-News18 and The Guardian)