UN Secy Gen ‘grieves’ death of Reuters photographer Siddiqui

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York, on Dec. 9, 2020. (Xinhua/Xie E)

United Nations, July 16 (IANS) UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres “grieves” the death of Reuters photographer Danish Siddiqui who was killed while covering the Afghanistan security forces operation against the Taliban, according his deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq.

Guterres is “concerned” about “the increasing threat to journalists in Afghanistan”, Haq said at his daily briefing on Friday.

Siddiqui’s death “is also an example of the particular problems that we’re facing in Afghanistan right now”, he said referring to the rise in Taliban attacks after President Joe Biden pulled US troops out of the country ending the 20-year presence there.

Guterres “grieves” the killing of journalists “anywhere in the world and the case of Danish Siddiqui is one such case,” Haq said.

Reuters said that Siddiqui, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist from India, was killed on Friday while he was embedded with the Afghan Special Forces who were trying to retake the main market in Spin Boldak, a key town on the border with Pakistan.

Siddiqui covered war zones and crises from Iraq to Hong Kong to Nepal, the wire service said. He won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for covering the Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar.

“Danish was an outstanding journalist, a devoted husband and father, and a much-loved colleague. Our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time,” Reuters President Michael Friedenberg and Editor-in-Chief Alessandra Galloni said in a joint statement.

The UN Mission in Afghanistan said, in a tweet, that Siddiqui’s death is a “painful reminder of mounting dangers faced by media in Afghanistan”.

It added that “media working in #Afghanistan & journalism itself in the country is under increasing threats” and called on authorities to investigate the killing of Siddiqui and all reporters.

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