NORTH OGDEN, Utah — The mayor of a Utah city was killed during an attack in Afghanistan while he was serving with the state’s National Guard, the Salt Lake Tribune and other media reported.
North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor died Saturday in an apparent “insider attack” in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, the Tribune reported. Another U.S. service member is being treated for wounds sustained in the attack, American military officials said.
The Utah National Guard has identified the service member killed as a member of the Guard. The Guard member’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
But Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer J. Cox wrote on his Facebook page that Taylor, 39, has been killed.
“Devastating news. North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor was killed today while serving in Afghanistan,” Cox said. “I hate this. I’m struggling for words. I love Mayor Taylor, his amazing wife Jennie and his seven sweet kids. Utah weeps for them today. This war has once again cost us the best blood of a generation. We must rally around his family.”
U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch issued a statement Saturday about Taylor’s death on Twitter. “Brent was a hero, a patriot, a wonderful father, and a dear friend. News of his death in Afghanistan is devastating. My prayers and love are with Jennie and his 7 young children. His service will always be remembered,” Hatch said.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert plans to hold a news conference on Sunday to discuss the death.
Taylor was deployed to Afghanistan in January with the Utah National Guard for what was expected to be a 12-month tour of duty. Taylor, an officer in the National Guard, previously served two tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan.
At the time of his deployment in January, Taylor told local media that, as an intelligence officer, he will be assigned to serve on an advisory team training the staff of an Afghan commando battalion.
“Right now there is a need for my experience and skills to serve in our nation’s long-lasting war in Afghanistan,” he said. “President Trump has ordered an increase in troops, and part of the new strategy focuses on expanding the capabilities of the Afghan commando units.”
Taylor became mayor of North Ogden, a city of about 17,000 people 46 miles north of Salt Lake City, in 2013.
The Tribune reported that on the day of his deployment in mid-January, North Ogden police escorted Taylor and his family around town as hundreds of residents lined the streets to see him off.