NEW DELHI: The body of Danish Siddiqui, a Pulitzer Prizewinning photojournalist who was killed in Afghanistan last month, was badly mutilated while in the custody of the Taliban, officials said. The revelation comes amid concern that the fighting in Afghanistan has become increasingly brutal as peace talks have stalled.
Siddiqui, 38, was killed when Afghan commandos he had accompanied to Spin Boldak were ambushed. Initial photographs from the scene showed his body with multiple wounds but fully intact.
But when the body was transferred to a hospital in Kandahar, it had been badly mutilated, according to two Indian and two Afghan officials there. The NYT reviewed multiple photographs that showed Siddiqui’s body had been mutilated. An official said the body had nearly a dozen bullet wounds and that there were tire marks on Siddiqui’s face and chest.
A health official in Kandahar said Siddiqui’s face was unrecognisable, adding that he could not determine exactly what had been done to the body. However, a Taliban spokesman denied any wrongdoing on the part of the insurgents, saying they were under orders to treat bodies with respect.
“Danish always chose to be on the front lines so that abuses and atrocities could not remain hidden,” said 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.”