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NPR's Zabihullah Tamanna, Journalist And Father, Killed In Afghanistan


And this morning, we are remembering NPR photographer David Gilkey and Afghan interpreter Zabihullah Tamanna. They were killed yesterday in a southern province in Afghanistan when the Afghan military convoy they were in was ambushed by Taliban fighters. NPR's Phil Reeves first hired Zabihullah Tamanna, and he's on the line from Islamabad. Good morning.


MONTAGNE: And just begin, please, by telling us about him.

REEVES: Oh, he was a wonderful, compassionate and courageous man, much more than an interpreter, really - a journalist, a very good photographer and someone who had a marvelous way of negotiating a path through all the thick forests of red tape that are thrown up around journalists in Afghanistan by the government. Zabi had incredible patience, and he knew exactly how to combine that patience and a sort of personal authority that he had in such a way as to get the documents that NPR needed in order to work there. I must say, being a journalist in Afghanistan as an Afghan is a very dangerous business, and Zabi had, you know, courage by the bucket-load.

MONTAGNE: And he's - he will be also missed by his family.

REEVES: Yeah, he has three young children - two sons and a daughter - and a wife, who is a teacher. And obviously this is a moment of terrible pain and loss for them, and, you know, our thoughts can only go out to them. He also had a lot of friends and a wider family in Kabul, who are now, you know, mourning the loss of a truly great guy and someone who really didn't deserve this fate at all.

MONTAGNE: Well, Phil, thank you for joining us for this. It's been a sad, sad day.

REEVES: You're welcome.

MONTAGNE: That was NPR's Philip Reeves remembering our colleague, Zabihullah Tamanna. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.