David Gilkey, a photojournalist with National Public Radio, and his Afghan translator Zabihullah Tamanna were killed in an ambush in Afghanistan on Sunday afternoon while traveling in an Afghan army convoy.
NPR reports that Gilkey and Tamanna were on an assigment for the network when their vehicle was struck by rocket propelled grenades. They were killed along with a soldier of the Afghan National Army who was driving the vehicle.
Two colleagues in the convoy, NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman and producer Monika Evstatieva, were unharmed.
Gilkey, 50, had years of experience covering stories in Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza and other countries.
“Gilkey s work in Afghanistan captured the intensity, stress, and danger of life on a battlefield as well as quiet moments in villages and on bases,” NPR said in a statement released after his parents were notified.
He won numerous awards, including a George Polk Award for an NPR investigation into the U.S. military s treatment of the wounded in 2010.
“He was devoted to helping the public see these wars and the people caught up in them. He died pursuing that commitment,” said Michael Oreskes, NPR’s Senior Vice President of News and Editorial Director. “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.”
Zabihullah, who was known as Zabi, previously worked as a photojournalist for the Chinese news agency Xinhua before writing for Turkey’s Anadolu News Agency. He was the father of three children.
“He was a lovely man, with a great eye for a story and deep wisdom about his country,” NPR’s Philip Reeves said. “He clearly loved his family.”
Secretary of State John Kerry released a statement upon learning of the journalists’ deaths.
“This attack is 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,” Kerry said.