Pulitzer Prize-winning Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui, employed with news agency Reuters, was killed while reporting in Afghanistan's Kandahar on Thursday night.
Mr Siddiqui was riding along with the Afghan Special Forces, and had been reporting on their operations against the Taliban in the region.
Afghan special forces had been fighting to retake the main market area of Spin Boldak when Mr Siddiqui and a senior Afghan officer were killed in what was described as Taliban crossfire, Reuters reported quoting officials.
Earlier, Mr Siddiqui told Reuters he had been wounded in the arm by a shrapnel while reporting on the clash.
He was treated and had been recovering when Taliban fighters retreated from the fighting in Spin Boldak.
Mr Siddiqui had been talking to shopkeepers when the Taliban attacked again, an Afghan commander told Reuters.
"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 statement.
In a string of tweets three days ago, the photojournalist, who won the Pulitzer in 2018 for his work on the Rohingya refugee crisis, reported how the vehicle he was traveling in was targeted and that he "felt lucky to be safe".
THREAD.— Danish Siddiqui (@dansiddiqui) July 13, 2021
Afghan Special Forces, the elite fighters are on various frontlines across the country. I tagged along with these young men for some missions. Here is what happened in Kandahar today while they were on a rescue mission after spending the whole night on a combat mission. pic.twitter.com/HMTbOOtDqN
Afghanistan's Ambassador to India Farid Mamundzay tweeted about the photojournalist's death.
Deeply disturbed by the sad news of the killing of a friend, Danish Seddiqi in Kandahar last night. The Indian Journalist & winner of Pulitzer Prize was embedded with Afghan security forces. I met him 2 weeks ago before his departure to Kabul. Condolences to his family & Reuters. pic.twitter.com/sGlsKHHein— Farid Mamundzay फरीद मामुन्दजई فرید ماموندزی (@FMamundzay) July 16, 2021
Earlier, around 50 diplomats and other staff members at the Indian consulate in Afghanistan's Kandahar were evacuated in view of the "intense fighting near Kandahar city". Taliban has been trying to regain control over Afghanistan as the US pulls out its forces after nearly two decades.
The photojournalist headed Reuters' multimedia team in India. His devastating drone images of funeral pyres during Covid's brutal second wave in India had spotlighted global attention on the country.
Mr Siddiqui graduated with a degree in Economics from Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia. He had a degree in Mass Communication from the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre at Jamia in 2007.
He started his career as a television news correspondent, switched to photojournalism, and joined Reuters as an intern in 2010.