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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

US soldier killed in 'insider attack' in Afghanistan was mayor of Utah city

North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor died on Saturday in an apparent "insider attack" in Kabul

A NATO helicopter flies over the Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan November 3, 2018. Reuters
A NATO helicopter flies over the Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan November 3, 2018. Reuters

The mayor of a small Utah city is the latest American soldier to be killed in the country’s 17-year war in Afghanistan.

North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor died on Saturday in an apparent "insider attack" in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. Another US soldier is being treated for injuries sustained in the attack, American military officials said.

The Utah National guard withheld the slain serviceman’s name pending notification of next of kin, but the North Ogden City Council website published a eulogy to Maj Taylor.

“We are devastated by the loss of our mayor and friend, Brent Taylor,” the statement read. “Our hearts and thoughts go to Jennie, their children, and other family members as they deal with this tragic loss. We love them and hope they will feel the love and support of all of us in North Ogden. Brent had a profound influence on this community. He was the best of men with the ability to see potential and possibility in everything around him.”

Maj Taylor, 39, was elected to the Ogden City Council in 2009 and mayor in 2013. He served for 12 years in the US army national guard, according to his biography on the council website.

He served two tours in Iraq as a convoy security commander and as an adviser to an Iraqi intelligence agency. Maj Taylor took a temporary leave of absence from his role as mayor to serve in Afghanistan as a combat adviser to the Afghan Border Police.

His death has rocked the sparsely populated western state. "Devastating news,” Utah Lt Gov Spencer J Cox wrote on Twitter. "This war has once again cost us the best blood of a generation. We must rally around his family."

Maj Taylor is survived by his wife, Jennie Ashworth Taylor, and seven children.

"Initial reports indicate the attacker was a member of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces," Nato's Resolute Support mission said in a statement.

The attacker was immediately killed by other Afghan soldiers, Nato said in a statement.

The wounded American soldier was flown to Bagram Airfield north of the Afghan capital where he was reported to be in a stable condition.

Maj Taylor is the third American serviceman to be killed this year in apparent “green-on-blue” attacks in which Afghan forces turn their weapons on international soldiers with whom they are working.

Last month, the General Scott Miller, the top Nato and US commander in Afghanistan, narrowly escaped an insider attack claimed by the Taliban that killed Kandahar security chief General Abdul Raziq. Brig Gen Jeffrey Smiley was injured in the attack.

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Currently, there are about 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan, providing the main component of Nato's Resolute Support mission to support and train local forces.

More than 2,000 American soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since the start of the war in 2001. Eight American soldiers have died this year.

US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis said in September that the Afghan government was increasing the vetting and training of local forces in order to minimise “insider attacks”.