Taliban terrorists “captured and executed” a Reuters photojournalist in July as he covered a military offensive led by the jihadist group near the Afghan city of Kandahar, an Afghan security official claimed to India Today on Tuesday.
“Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was captured and executed by the Taliban in what was first reported as a death in a crossfire between the Taliban and Afghan forces,” the news site revealed on August 2, citing an official confirmation by Ajmal Omar Shinwari, a spokesman for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).
“No confirmation of mutilation, the matter is under investigation as the area where Danish was executed is under Taliban control, so finding witnesses is taking time,” Shinwari told India Today, referring to reports that Taliban fighters allegedly “mutilated” Siddiqui’s body after his death.
“By the time his [Siddiqui’s] body left Taliban custody and was passed to the Red Cross, who took it to a hospital in Kandahar, it was riddled with nearly a dozen bullet holes and there were tire marks on his face,” the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper reported on August 1, citing accounts by Indian and Afghan government officials.
India’s CNN News 18 reported on August 2 that it had “accessed for the first time a detailed medical report along with photographs and X-Ray” of Siddiqui’s remains, “confirming that he was brutally tortured to death.”
#EXCLUSIVE | CNN-News18 has accessed for the first time a medical report of Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui’s mortal remains which confirms that he was brutally tortured to death@AdityaRajKaul reports pic.twitter.com/viNkrHUQ2a
— News18 (@CNNnews18) August 2, 2021
“Even after his barbaric killing, the body was not just dragged mercilessly, but also mutilated using a heavy vehicle,” the Indian CNN affiliate reported, citing “multiple sources within [the] Afghan and Indian national security apparatus.”
“Twelve bullets hit Danish’s body. Small entry points of bullets and several exit wounds were noticed. Several bullets were seen inside the body as well. All bullets in the torso and back of the body,” Afghan intelligence sources told CNN News 18.
“Drag marks were also found on the body. It’s presumed that the body was dragged after the killing by Taliban terrorists,” Afghan intelligence sources told the network. “[The] head and chest of Danish was crushed by a heavy vehicle multiple times as well after the killing. Tyre [tire] marks are very much visible on the face and chest. It’s presumed [a] Humvee or another heavy SUV was used to mutilate the body.”
Siddiqui was on assignment in Afghanistan for Reuters at the time of his death on July 16. The Indian national “was killed … while covering a clash between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters near a border crossing with Pakistan,” Reuters reported at the time, citing an account by an unnamed Afghan army commander.
“Afghan special forces had been fighting to retake the main market area of Spin Boldak when Siddiqui and a senior Afghan officer were killed in what they described as Taliban crossfire,” the commander told Reuters.
“Siddiqui had been embedded as a journalist since earlier this week with Afghan special forces based in the southern province of Kandahar and had been reporting on fighting between Afghan commandos and Taliban fighters,” Reuters reported on July 16.
“Danish Siddiqui won the Pulitzer Prize in 2018 as part of the Reuters team for their coverage of the Rohingya crisis [in Myanmar],” India Today recalled on Tuesday.