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US Journalist, Translator Killed in Afghanistan

  • VOA News

NPR's David Gilkey is seen on assignment in a photo posted May 17, 2016, by a colleague on Twitter (via @MEvstatieva).

NPR's David Gilkey is seen on assignment in a photo posted May 17, 2016, by a colleague on Twitter (via @MEvstatieva).

A veteran American journalist and his Afghan translator were reported killed in Afghanistan Sunday, after coming under attack while traveling with an Afghan army unit in southern Helmand province.

The U.S.-based National Public Radio identified the dead as photojournalist David Gilkey and translator Zabihullah Tammana. Two other journalists in their convoy were reportedly unharmed.

No other details were immediately available, and it was not clear late Sunday the size of the military unit or whether it suffered other casualties.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is in Beijing, said in a statement, "This attack is a grim reminder of the danger that continues to face the Afghan people... and the courage of intrepid journalists."

An NPR website described the 50-year-old Gilkey as an award-winning photographer and video editor, and one of the first unescorted journalists to enter Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States.

He also covered the 2008-2009 conflict in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas, known widely as the Gaza War, as well as the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in early 2010.

The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists on Sunday issued a statement of condolences, saying that despite waning public attention, "Afghanistan remains a dangerous place for journalists -- local and foreign -- working to cover that protracted conflict."

The statement cited data showing the deaths of 24 journalists and one media worker since the U.S. response in October 2001 to the al-Qaida attacks on the United States. Those numbers do not include Gilkey or Tammana.