Reuters journalist Danish Siddiqui, who was killed while covering the violence in Afghanistan, was apparently executed by the Taliban, a US-based weekly magazine has claimed.
38-year-old Siddiqui, who was the Chief Photographer for Reuters in India, was killed in Kandahar province's Spin Boldak district.
A new report published by The Washington Examiner claims that Danish was "not simply killed in the crossfire" but was rather "murdered" by the Taliban.
Writing for the US magazine, Michael Rubin said the local probe suggests the Taliban attacked a mosque where Siddiqui was receiving treatment after they got to know about the presence of a journalist.
"Siddiqui was alive when the Taliban captured him. The Taliban verified Siddiqui's identity and then executed him, as well as those with him. The commander and the remainder of his team died as they tried to rescue him," he said.
The report magazine further said: "While a widely circulated public photograph shows Siddiqui's face recognisable, I reviewed other photographs and a video of Siddiqui's body provided to me by a source in the Indian government that show the Taliban beat Siddiqui around the head and then riddled his body with bullets."
Rubin further said that the Taliban's decision to execute Siddiqui, and then mutilate his corpse shows that they do not respect the rules of war or conventions. "The Taliban are always brutal but likely took their cruelty to a new level because Siddiqui was Indian. They also want to signal that Western journalists are not welcome in any Afghanistan they control and that they expect Taliban propaganda to be accepted as truth."
Rubin even questioned State Department's decision to "pretend" that Siddiqui's death was just a tragic accident."
"We are deeply saddened to hear that Reuters photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was killed while covering fighting in Afghanistan," said Jalina porter, principal deputy spokesperson State Department on July 16.
Last week, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani had called the father of Danish Siddiqui and conveyed his condolences over the demise of his son to his family and friends. He termed his death as a great loss for the journalism fraternity.
(Inputs by ANI)