A Pulitzer for AFP: Afghan photographer Massoud Hossaini wins award

Massoud Hossaini has been awarded a Pulitzer prize in the "Breaking News" category.

He won the prize, one of the most prestigious in journalism, for his picture of a girl screaming in the aftermath of a suicide attack in Kabul in December 2011.


06/12/2011 - Kabul, Afghanistan - AFP/Massoud Hossaini


On December 6, the 30-year-old Massoud Hossaini was a few metres from a Shiite sanctuary that was hit by an explosion that caused 80 deaths and injured 150 people. "Along the road, not far from the mosque, there was a place where women and children had gathered to watch the procession. I saw many wounded children who were not moving," the photographer said.


"I saw one girl about 12 years old, Tarana, covered with blood. She was dazed (…) and was crying a lot."  She is the girl in the picture that won a 2012 World Press Photo Award last February, second prize in the “News” category.


Sig Gissler, the Pulitzer administrator, described the photograph as "a picture you will long remember."


AFP chief executive Emmanuel Hoog congratulated Hossaini on winning AFP's first Pulitzer. "The Pulitzer Prize committee has honoured one of our bravest and best photojournalists, Massoud Hossaini, and the award is recognition of AFP's insistence on quality and commitment across the range of journalistic pursuits," Hoog said. "Bravo and congratulations to Massoud."


"Today, in the news arena, words without images are impoverished and pictures without text are not enough," he said. "The two complement each other and images -- fixed or moving -- are essential to the journalism of the 21st century."


Hossaini, who is based in Kabul, said he was "so happy and excited"  to win the prize that he was unable to sleep. "I'm humbled to be an Afghan who can be a voice for the painful life and moments which people have here," he said. "I know that whoever sees this photo will think about the photographer but I hope they don't forget the pain Afghanistan's people have in their life."


Access the interview with Massoud Hossaini on December 12, 2011