Taliban’s claims that they were unaware that Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was with the Afghan forces when they ambushed them, leading to his death, fall flat as local Afghan leaders tell a different side of the story.

Aaj Tak report states that Danish’s body was mutilated because he was an Indian. Speaking to Aaj Tak, Afghan army commander Bilal Ahmed said that Taliban first shot Danish then ran a car over him after they got to know he is Indian since Taliban hates India and Indians. That they knew Danish had died of the bullet but they still ran a car over him because he was an Indian.

Interestingly, after his death, Danish’s body of work, especially the pictures of funeral pyres during the second wave of coronavirus and Rohingya crisis, was publicised and hailed by all, Taliban expressed sorrow on killing him. In fact, Taliban had claimed they did not know how the photojournalist had died. “Any journalist entering the war zone should inform us. We will take proper care of that particular individual. We are sorry for Indian journalist Danish Siddiqui’s death. We regret that journalists are entering war zone without intimation to us,” The Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid had told News18.

In an article published by Newslaundry, Afghan journalist Ahmad Lodin said that the Taliban killed Danish and kept his body. In fact, they even refused to return his mortal remains.

Snippet from Newslaundry article

As per Lodin, who spoke to Newslaundry, the Afghan authorities contacted Taliban and Red Crescent but they refused to return Danish’s body. After much negotiation, his body was returned at 3 PM. Lodin also said that Danish’s body had been ‘disrespected and mutilated’. According to the report, Reuters was aware that Siddiqui was injured few days prior to the attack that killed him. However, they did not pull out an injured journalist from the conflict zone.

Subsequently, Danish Siddiqui’s friends and colleagues in media and other ‘liberals’ had hailed Taliban for expressing regret at killing Danish, whom they killed and mutilated his body because he was an Indian.