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U.S. Journalist, Translator Killed In Afghanistan


NPR photojournalist David Gilkey is pictured at Kandahar airfield in Afghanistan on May 29.

A journalist for the U.S.-based National Public Radio (NPR) and an Afghan translator have been killed while on assignment in southern Afghanistan.

David Gilkey, an award-winning photographer and video editor, and his translator, Zabihullah Tamanna, were killed on June 5 when the Afghan Army unit they were traveling with came under fire near the town of Marjah in Helmand Province, NPR said.

In a statement, NPR said that two other NPR journalists were traveling with them but were not hurt in the attack.

Zabihullah Tamanna
Zabihullah Tamanna

Michael Oreskes, NPR's senior vice president of news and editorial director, said in a statement that Gilkey had covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"As a man and as a photojournalist, David brought out the humanity of all those around him," Oreskes said.

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani called the attack cowardly and "completely against all the principles and values of Islam and humanity, and against all international laws."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the attack was "a grim reminder of the danger that continues to face the Afghan people, the dedication of Afghan national defense and security forces to securing their country, and of the courage of intrepid journalists -- and their interpreters -- who are trying to convey that important story to the rest of the world."

Gilkey, 50, won the prestigious George Polk Award and a national Emmy and in 2015 became the first multimedia journalist to receive the Edward R. Murrow Award.

Tamanna, 38, was a freelancer who had also worked as a photographer and reporter for Xinhua and Turkey's Anadolu News Agency.

Twenty-six journalists have now been killed in Afghanistan since the U.S. invasion of the country in 2001, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP