Pulitzer Prize-winning Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was not killed in a crossfire in Afghanistan, but was “brutally murdered” by the Taliban after they verified his identity, according to a report in a US-based magazine on Thursday. Siddiqui, 38, was covering clashes between the Taliban and the Afghan forces when he died.
Citing local authorities, the report in Washington Examiner said Siddiqui was travelling with an Afghan national army team to the Spin Boldak region to cover the fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban for the control of the lucrative border crossing with Pakistan. “When they got to within one-third of a mile of the customs post, a Taliban attack split the team, with the commander and a few men separated from Siddiqui, who remained with three other Afghan troops,” it said.
The report said that the photojournalist got hit by a shrapnel during the assault and took refuge in a local mosque where he received first aid. As the word spread that a journalist was in the mosque, the Taliban attacked. A local investigation suggested that the Taliban attacked the mosque only because of Siddiqui’s presence there, the report said. “Siddiqui was alive when the Taliban captured him. The Taliban verified Siddiqui’s identity and then executed him, as well as those with him. The commander and the remainder of his team died as they tried to rescue him,” it said.
“While a widely circulated public photograph shows Siddiqui’s face recognisable, I reviewed other photographs and a video of Siddiqui’s body provided to me by a source in the Indian government that show the Taliban beat Siddiqui around the head and then riddled his body with bullets,” wrote the writer Michael Rubin, who is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. The Taliban’s decision to hunt down, execute Siddiqui, and then mutilate his corpse shows they do not respect the rules of war or conventions that govern behaviour of the global community, the report said.