National Public Radio(NPR) photographer, David Gilkey, along with his Afghan interpreter, Zabihullah Tamanna, were killed on Sunday during a task in Southern Afghanistan. Gilkey, 50, and Tamanna, 38, was traveling with an Afghan army unit when it came under attack. They were a part of a four-member team of NPR.
The team was traveling from Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province, to Marja, an agricultural town, when Taliban militants stormed at the unit with heavy artillery, said Shakil Ahmad, the spokesman for the Afghan National Army’s 215th Corps in Helmand, in a report to NY Times.
A shellfire reportedly struck Gilkey’s vehicle, while the other two journalists in another vehicle survived the ambush. Later, Afghan forces found their bodies and took them to a nearby Afghan police base. From there, the bodies were taken to Camp Bastion – an Afghan Ministry of Defense airbase.
Gilkey was one of the top journalists in the world. He used to eat, sleep and live everything he did being a journalist. For this charisma, he was awarded an Emmy in 2007 and a George Polk award in 2010. He was a former White House photographer and was crowned with the Still Photographer of the Year in 2011.
In 2010, he covered the devastating earthquake in Haiti and shared his craft of journalism.
“It’s not like you put the camera to your face and therefore it makes what you’re seeing OK, but certainly you can put yourself in a zone,” Gilkey said.
“It’s hard, but you can’t get caught up in it and become part of it. You still need to maintain your state of mind that you are helping tell this story,” he added.
Michael Oreskes, NPR’s senior vice president of news and editorial director, praised Gilkey for discovering humanity in the fiercest events`he covered in his life.
“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,” Washington Post reported him saying.
Remembering friend & colleague David Gilkey, killed today in Afghanistan. This pic is from our India trip last month pic.twitter.com/zdX6KnL6nL
— Ari Shapiro (@arishapiro) June 5, 2016
David Gilkey was brave, certain and beloved. pic.twitter.com/F0KL9qGlMi
— David Guttenfelder (@dguttenfelder) June 6, 2016