The physique of Danish Siddiqui, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Reuters photojournalist who was killed in Afghanistan on July 16, was badly mutilated whereas within the custody of the Taliban, officers stated this week.
An Indian nationwide, the 38-year-old Siddiqui was killed on the morning of July 16, when Afghan commandos he had accompanied to Spin Boldak, a border district lately captured by the Taliban, have been ambushed. Preliminary pictures from the scene confirmed Siddiqui’s physique with a number of wounds however totally intact.
However by that night, when the physique was handed over to the Pink Cross and transferred to a hospital within the southern metropolis of Kandahar, it had been badly mutilated, in line with two Indian officers and two Afghan well being officers there.
The New York Occasions reviewed a number of pictures, some offered by Indian officers and others taken by Afghan well being staff on the hospital, that confirmed Siddiqui’s physique had been mutilated. One Indian official stated the physique had practically a dozen bullet wounds and that there have been tyre marks on Siddiqui’s face and chest.
One of many well being officers in Kandahar stated the physique, together with Siddiqui’s press vest, reached town’s foremost hospital round 8 pm on the day he was killed. His face was unrecognisable, stated the official, who added that he couldn’t decide precisely what had been completed to the physique.
There are conflicting experiences about what occurred on July 16, because the Afghan particular forces with whom Siddiqui was travelling tried to retake Spin Boldak.
Accounts from native officers, in addition to Taliban members, counsel that Siddiqui and the Afghan unit’s commander have been killed in a crossfire when their convoy was ambushed from a number of instructions. Their our bodies have been left on the battlefield as the remainder of the unit retreated, in line with this model of occasions.
Some information retailers reported that Siddiqui may need been captured alive by the Taliban after which executed. These experiences couldn’t be confirmed. One Indian official, nonetheless, stated that a few of Siddiqui’s wounds seemed to be from gunshots at shut vary.
A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, denied any wrongdoing on the a part of the insurgents, saying they have been beneath orders to deal with our bodies with respect and handy them over to native elders or the Pink Cross. However the Taliban have been in charge of the world on the time, and a few pictures confirmed what seemed to be the group’s fighters standing round Siddiqui’s physique, which was then intact.
The revelation comes amid concern that the preventing in Afghanistan has turn out to be more and more brutal as peace talks have stalled.
The Taliban rose to energy from the southern province within the Nineties, promising to finish atrocities carried out by native militias. Lately, Afghan forces led by Abdul Raziq, a normal who was assassinated in 2018, have been accused of ruthless ways as they fought the Taliban in Kandahar. Spin Boldak, the place Siddiqui died, was Normal Raziq’s hometown. Stories have emerged of the Taliban detaining, and in some circumstances executing, individuals who had been related to the overall.
Human Rights Watch and different watchdog teams say the Taliban have carried out a sequence of revenge killings in Kandahar province, the place among the most brutal episodes in Afghanistan’s final 4 war-torn many years have occurred.
“Danish at all times selected to be on the entrance strains in order that abuses and atrocities couldn’t stay hidden,” stated Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director for Human Rights Watch. “The brutality with which Taliban fighters punished Danish proves the abuses that he was documenting.”
Three days earlier than his killing, Siddiqui had posted a video on Twitter by which he stated a number of rocket-propelled grenades had struck the armoured automobile by which he was travelling.
His physique, in a closed coffin, was returned to his house in New Delhi two days after his demise. He was buried in a cemetery at Jamia Millia Islamia, the college in New Delhi from which he had graduated.