Photojournalist David Gilkey and translator Zabihullah Tamanna have died while traveling with the Afghan military in Helmand province. The men were killed in a Taliban ambush while two other journalists were unhurt.
NPR videographer David Gilkey and Afghan photographer and translator Zabihullah Tamanna were in an Afghan army Humvee traveling near the town of Marjah in Helmand province when their vehicle was struck by an 82mm rocket during a Taliban ambush, Afghan army spokesman Shakil Ahmad Tasal said.
The road between Marjah and the provincial capital Lashkar Gah had only recently been reopened by security forces after heavy fighting in the area.
Executives at NPR, a publicly funded US broadcaster, said the 50-year-old Gilkey was killed doing what he loved.
"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." said Michael Oreskes, NPR's senior vice president of news and editorial director.
Also killed was Tamanna, a 37-year-old professional photographer who often worked as an interpreter for NPR, the broadcaster said, but could offer few other details.
Former colleagues of Tamanna took to Twitter to share some of the Afghan's photojournalism for US broadcaster NBC.
An unidentified Afghan army driver also died.
The two photojournalists were traveling on assignment with NPR reporter Tom Bowman and producer Monika Evstatieva, who were reportedly not injured in the attack.
In addition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, David Gilkey had covered the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the fall of apartheid in South Africa, famine in Somalia, and war in Rwanda and the Balkans
An accomplished veteran in his field
Gilkey had won many awards in a career that spanned decades. He was named Still Photographer of the Year by the White House Photographers Association in 2011. His role in an NPR investigation on veteran medical care helped the outlet earn a 2010 George Polk Award, a Society for News Design's 2011 Award of Excellence and a 2011 Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage.
He was honored with the Edward R. Murrow Award for his coverage of international breaking news, military conflicts and natural disasters last year. He also won an Emmy television award in 2007 for a video series, "Band of Brothers," about Michigan Marines in Iraq. In 2004, he was named Michigan "Photographer of the Year" by the Michigan Press Photographers Association.
In a past interview, the veteran of conflict zone reporting said he marveled at the humanity he encountered in some of the harshest environments.
"The things to do were amazing and the places to see were epic," Gilkey once said of his work. "But the people, the people are what made it all worth the effort."
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists lists Afghanistan as among the most dangerous countries for media, with at least 27 journalists killed since 1992.
jar/bw (AP, Reuters, AFP)