Saturday 14 December 2019

Top photographer David Gilkey killed in Afghan convoy attack

David Gilkey, right, and translator Zabihullah Tamanna (NPR/ AP)
David Gilkey, right, and translator Zabihullah Tamanna (NPR/ AP)

A veteran award-winning US news photographer and video editor has been killed along with a translator on an assignment in southern Afghanistan.

David Gilkey, who worked for National Public Radio, and Afghan translator Zabihullah Tamanna were travelling with an Afghan army unit near Marjah, Helmand province, when the convoy came under fire and their vehicle was hit.

Two other NPR journalists, Tom Bowman and producer Monika Evstatieva, were unhurt.

Mr Gilkey had covered conflict and war in Iraq and Afghanistan since the September 11 2001 attacks on Washington and New York and was committed to helping the public see the wars and the people caught up in them, NPR's senior vice president of news and editorial director, Michael Oreskes, said.

"As a man and as a photojournalist, David brought out the humanity of all those around him. He let us see the world and each other through his eyes," he said.

Mr Tamanna was a freelancer who often worked for NPR, the network said.

Mr Gilkey covered both national and international news for the radio network and its website and had made numerous trips to Afghanistan and Iraq.

He won numerous accolades, including the prestigious George Polk Award and a national Emmy.

The White House News Photographers Association named Mr Gilkey Still Photographer of the Year in 2011 and in 2015, he became the first multimedia journalist to receive the Edward R Murrow Award for his coverage of international breaking news, military conflicts and natural disasters.

Twenty-seven journalists have been killed in Afghanistan since 1992, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, not counting Mr Gilkey and Mr Tamanna. Worldwide, nearly 1,200 journalists have died since 1992, according to CPJ.

In addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr Gilkey covered the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, the devastating earthquake that shook Haiti in 2010, the fall of apartheid in South Africa, famine in Somalia, and war in Rwanda and the Balkans.

"The things to do were amazing and the places to see were epic," he once said of his work. "But the people, the people are what made it all worth the effort."

Mr Gilkey started his journalistic career with the Boulder Daily Camera in Colorado, where he covered local assignments for the paper and overseas assignments for Knight Ridder. He later joined the Detroit Free Press until he began working for NPR in 2007.

PA Media

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