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IFJ praises courage of photojournalist severely wounded while reporting Afghanistan war

(IFJ/IFEX) - February 14, 2011 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), its European group the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and its affiliate, the Afghan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA), are shocked and saddened to learn that a British photojournalist was severely injured after stepping on a makeshift bomb in southern Afghanistan.

Giles Duley, a freelance photographer associated with the Camera Press Agency in London, was on a foot patrol with Afghan and American soldiers on February 7 near the village of Sangsar, in rural Kandahar Province, when he stepped on a pressure-plate that detonated a hidden explosive charge, The New York Times reported today.

Duley, 39, suffered multiple amputations as a result of the blast, losing one leg below the knee, one leg above the knee and his left arm was severed above the elbow, the report said. He also suffered a range of superficial wounds and a finger on his right hand was fractured.

The photojournalist was working alongside soldiers from the 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment who were clearing a compound at the time of the incident. It was the first time Duley had covered military operations, having arrived in Afghanistan only two weeks earlier.

"The IFJ applauds the courage of Giles Duley and many others like him who expose themselves to extreme personal risk in order to report the grim realities of war," IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.

"The IFJ sends its best wishes to our colleague for as speedy a recovery as is possible, given the extent of his injuries."

Duley spent a decade as an editorial photographer in the fashion and music industries, with his photos exhibited and published around the world in publications such as Vogue, GQ, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Sunday Times and New Statesman. In recent years he has concentrated on humanitarian projects, working with charities such as Médecins sans Frontiers.

New York Times photographer Joao Silva stepped on an anti-personnel landmine in October in southern Afghanistan, losing both legs and sustaining other injuries in the blast.

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