The NPR Photographer and Translator Killed in Afghanistan

David Gilkey and Zabihullah Tamanna were on assignment near Marjah when the Afghan military convoy with which they were traveling came under fire. Two other NPR journalists were unharmed.

David Gilkey, the award-winning NPR photographer, and Zabihullah Tamanna, a translator for the network, were killed Sunday in Afghanistan when the Afghan military convoy with which they were traveling near Marjah came under fire, the network said. Two other NPR journalists, Tom Bowman, NPR’s Pentagon correspondent, and Monika Evstatieva, the producer, were also on the convoy. They were unharmed.

Michael Oreskes, NPR’s senior vice president of news and editorial director, said in a statement:

David has been covering war and conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. He was devoted to helping the public see these wars and the people caught up in them. He died pursuing that commitment. 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.

Gilkey was among the world’s best photojournalists. And, as NPR’s Two-Way blog noted in its own story on Gilkey:

It is fair to say that David witnessed some of humanity's most challenging moments: He covered wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He covered the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. He covered the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa. He covered the devastating earthquake in Haiti, famine in Somalia and the Ebola epidemic in Liberia.


He was awarded several times over for his work, winning, among other things, a George Polk in 2010 and an Emmy in 2007. He had earned more than 36 distinctions from the White House Photographers Association (WHPA) since 2009, including nine first-place awards. In 2011, WHPA named him the Still Photographer of the Year.