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NPR photojournalist, translator killed in Afghanistan

This photo provided by National Public Rado shows

This photo provided by National Public Rado shows interpreter Zabihullah Tamanna, left, and NPR photographer and video editor David Gilkey in Afghanistan. Both were killed in Afghanistan on Sunday, June 5, 2016, NPR said. Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images / Monika Evstatieva

WASHINGTON — David Gilkey, a veteran news photographer and video editor for National Public Radio, and an Afghan translator, Zabihullah Tamanna, were killed Sunday while on assignment in southern Afghanistan, a network spokeswoman said.

Gilkey and Tamanna were traveling with an Afghan army unit near Marjah in Helmand province when the convoy came under fire and their vehicle was struck, the network’s spokeswoman, Isabel Lara, said. Two other NPR journalists, Tom Bowman and producer Monika Evstatieva, were traveling with them and were not hurt.

Secretary of State John Kerry called the attack “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 had covered conflict and war in Iraq and Afghanistan since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and was committed to helping the public see the wars and the people caught up in them, r, 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,” Oreskes said.

Tamanna was a freelancer who often worked for NPR, Lara, the spokeswoman, said in an email. Known as Zabi, he also worked as a photographer and reporter, taking pictures for China’s Xinhua news agency and writing for Turkey’s Anadolu News Agency.

Veteran correspondent Phillip Reeves, who recruited Tamanna to the network, called him “a great colleague.”

“He was a lovely man, with a great eye for a story and deep wisdom about his country,” Reeves said. “He clearly loved his family.”

Gilkey covered both national and international news for the radio network and its website and had made numerous trips to Afghanistan and Iraq, according to NPR’s website.

His work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the George Polk Award and a national Emmy. The White House News Photographers Association named Gilkey their Still Photographer of the Year in 2011. In 2015, he became the first multimedia journalist to receive the Edward R. Murrow Award for his coverage of international breaking news, military conflicts and natural disasters.

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