Kabul (Afghanistan) | Jagran News Desk: Amid the intense fighting between the Taliban and Afghan forces, an Indian photojournalist -- Danish Siddiqui -- lost his life during clashes in the Spin Boldak district in Afghanistan's Kandahar province, said the country's Ambassador to India Farid Mamundzay on Friday.

"Deeply disturbed by the sad news of the killing of a friend, Danish Seddiqi in Kandahar last night. The Indian Journalist and winner of Pulitzer Prize was embedded with Afghan security forces. I met him 2 weeks ago before his departure to Kabul. Condolences to his family and Reuters," Mamundzay said in a Tweet.

Siddiqui, a Mumbai-based Reuters photojournalist, was covering the clashes in Kandahar over the past few days. Siddiqui, India's first journalist to win Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography, had also been posting pictures of the conflict in Afghanistan on his social media accounts that has intensified after the United States (US) started withdrawing its forces.

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Last month, Siddiqui had posted several pictures and videos on his Twitter account, saying he along with Afghan special forces were attacked by the Taliban during a operation to extract a wounded policeman on the outskirts of Kandahar.

"I could feel the tension in the air as ASF were expecting an imminent attack from the Taliban. There was sporadic machine gun fire but all hell broke loose as the Humvees reached the extraction point," he had said in one of his Tweets.

The situation in Afghanistan, especially in Kandahar, remains tense as the conflict has intensified. Amid this, India on Saturday evacuated 50 diplomats and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel from the Kandahar consulate.

"Due to the intense fighting near Kandahar city, India-based personnel have been brought back for the time being," said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi. "India is closely monitoring the evolving security situation in Afghanistan".

India has been a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan. It has already invested nearly USD three billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country. It has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma