NPR journalists David Gilkey and Zabihullah Tamanna died a year ago this week, ambushed on a remote road in southern Afghanistan while on a reporting assignment traveling with the Afghan National Army.
Since their deaths, NPR has been investigating what happened, and today we are sharing new information about what we learned. It’s a very different story from what we originally understood.
The two men were not the random victims of bad timing in a dangerous place, as initial reports indicated. Rather, the journalists’ convoy was specifically targeted by attackers who had been tipped off to the presence of Americans in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.
Gilkey, an experienced photojournalist, and Tamanna, an Afghan reporter NPR hired to work with him, were sitting together in a Humvee when they were attacked.
“After the loss of our colleagues, we wanted to be sure we understood what really happened on the road that day,” said Michael Oreskes, senior vice president of news and editorial director at NPR. “So we kept reporting.”
Illustration: Isabel Seliger for NPR
Caption: Journalists David Gilkey and Zabihullah Tamanna were killed on the road to Marjah, Afghanistan, last year during a reporting trip.