Danish was alive, later 'brutally murdered' by Taliban: Report

An opinion piece in a US based magazine says Taliban beat Siddiqui around the head and then his body with bullets

Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui, who won the Pulitzer Prize was not simply killed in a crossfire in Afghanistan nor simple casualty but was "brutally murdered" by the Taliban after verifying his identity, according to an opinion piece published in a United States based magazine on Thursday.

Danish Siddiqui who was 38 years old and was on assignment in Afghanistan when he died. He was killed while covering clashes between Afghan troops and the Talibans in city Kandahar's Spin Boldak district.

According to the magazine, Washington Examiner report, the award winner journalist travelled with an Afghan National Army team to the Spin Boldak district to cover the clashes between Afghan forces and the Taliban to control the thriving border crossing with Pakistan.

The report said that when Afghan troops got within one-third of a mile of the customs post, a Taliban attack had split the team with the commander and few men were separated from Siddiqui who remained with three other Afghan troops.

The report alleged that during the assault, shrapnel injured the photo journalist which leads him and his team to take refuge at a mosque where he received first aid. The report further added, “As word spread, however, that a journalist was in the mosque, the Taliban attacked."

The report claims that the local investigation says that the Taliban attacked the mosque only because of Siddiqui’s presence there. The report further says that the journalist was alive when the Taliban captured him, adding to it it said, "Taliban verified Siddiqui’s identity and then executed him, as well as those with him." The report also claims that the commander and the remainder of his team died as they tried to rescue him.5

Micheal Rubin, who is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote that a widely circulated public photograph shows Siddiqui’s face recognizable.

He also wrote, “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.”

The Washington Examiner report alleged that the Taliban’s decision to hunt down Danish Siddiqui and then his mutilate body shows that they do not respect the rules of war or protocols that governs the behaviour of the global community.

Danish Siddiqui who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2018 as part of the Reuters team for their coverage of the Rohingya crisis. He had broadly covered the Afghanistan conflict, the Hong Kong protests and other major events across Asia, Middle East and Europe.

His corpse arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport and was later brought to his residence in Jamia Nagar, Delhi in the evening of July 18 where a huge crowd had gathered including his family and friends.

The award winner journalist Danish Siddiqui was laid to rest at the Jamia Millia Islamia graveyard in Delhi, where hundreds of mourners gathered to pay their last respects.

Nistha Jain

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