NPR photographer and translator killed in Afghanistan

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Translator Zabihullah Tamanna, left, and David Gilkey in Afghanistan. (Photo: NPR, Monika Evstatieva)

Translator Zabihullah Tamanna, left, and David Gilkey in Afghanistan. (Photo: NPR, Monika Evstatieva)

David Gilkey, an NPR photographer and video editor, was killed Sunday near Marjah in southern Afghanistan.

NPR staffers learned the news in an email from NPR President Jarl Mohn and Michael Oreskes, s.v.p. for news. The two said that an Afghan army convoy carrying Gilkey and NPR translator Zabihullah Tamanna came under fire. Tamanna was also killed.

Gilkey was on assignment with NPR Pentagon Correspondent Tom Bowman and producer Monika Evstatieva, who escaped injury.

Gilkey was the first American journalist killed in the 15-year Afghan conflict, the New York Times reported.

A post on NPR’s website said Gilkey “was considered one of the best photojournalists in the world.” He has covered the war on terror since the 9/11 attacks.

According to his NPR biography, Gilkey won a 2010 George Polk Award for his contributions to the NPR investigation “Brain Wars: How the Military is Failing the Wounded.” He has also won 36 honors since 2009 from the White House Photographers Association, including nine first-place awards.

CPB honored Gilkey with an Edward R. Murrow Award last year for his coverage of international breaking news, military conflicts and natural disasters. It was the first time CPB had presented the award to a multimedia journalist.

At the presentation at the Public Media Development and Marketing Conference, Gilkey told the crowd, “I am extremely fortunate to have the job that I have. I get to travel the world, and I get to show people people who would not otherwise have a voice. That’s the most important thing to me.”

Gilkey joined NPR in 2007. Previously, he worked at the Detroit Free Press and the Boulder (Colo.) Daily Camera.

“More comfortable behind his camera than in front of a microphone, David used his photography and video work to connect with something more real than what could ever be described in words,” Mohn and Oreskes said. “As our colleague and our friend, he is and always will be, beloved.”

Correction: An earlier version of this post misspelled Zabihullah Tamanna’s surname.