A Utah mayor serving in Afghanistan was reportedly killed and another service member was wounded when an Afghan commando opened fire on them Saturday in Kabul. Maj Brent Taylor, the mayor of North Ogden, was killed, according to Utah’s lieutenant governor, Spencer Cox, who expressed shock in announcements on Twitter and Facebook.
“I hate this. Im struggling for words,” Cox wrote. “I love Mayor Taylor, his amazing wife Jennie and his 7 sweet kids. Utah weeps for them today.”
Taylor had taken leave from his position in North Ogden, a city of about 20,000 people, to serve with the Utah National Guard in Afghanistan. “Service is really what leadership is all about,” he wrote on Facebook in January before what was to be a years deployment.
He said the deployment, his fourth, was as part of an advisory team training an Afghan commando battalion.
Debra Richardson, a NATO spokeswoman, said in Kabul, the capital, that the gunman appeared to have been a member of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.
“The attacker was immediately killed by other Afghan forces,” she said.
NATO had not released the identities or ranks of the service members or the location of the attack. But US officials suggested it had occurred at a hub for special operations forces in Kabul.
The attack was the second of its kind in less than two weeks. On Oct 22, an Afghan commando opened fire on members of the US-led NATO coalition in the western province of Herat, killing one and wounding two.
So-called insider attacks have long been a problem for coalition forces in Afghanistan. At their peak in 2012, 61 coalition soldiers were killed by such attacks.
Taylor decided to join the military someday after the Sep 11 attacks while attending Brigham Young University, according to a profile published in January in the Deseret News, a Salt Lake City newspaper. His five brothers also joined the Army in the years after the 2001 attacks, it said.
Last Sunday in what appeared to be his last Facebook post, he called on Americans to vote. “Whether the Republicans or the Democrats win,” he said, it is important “that we all remember that we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us.”