Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Utah mayor is killed in Afghan attack

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (NYTIMES) – A US service member was killed and another wounded when an Afghan commando opened fire on them Saturday (Nov 3) in Kabul, Afghan and US officials said.

Mr Brent Taylor, the mayor of North Ogden, Utah, was killed, according to Lt Gov Spencer Cox, who expressed shock in announcements on Twitter and Facebook.

“I hate this. I’m struggling for words,” Mr Cox wrote. “I love Mayor Taylor, his amazing wife Jennie and his 7 sweet kids. Utah weeps for them today.”

North Ogden’s website said of Mr Taylor, who had taken leave from his job to serve in the Utah National Guard, “He was the best of men with the ability to see potential and possibility in everything around him.”

It added, “He was patriotic to the core and a shining example of what an American politician should be.”

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.

Of Saturday’s attack, Sergeant 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.

The Nato statement did not release the identities or ranks of the service members or the location of the attack.

But US officials suggested it had occurred at a US special operations hub in Kabul that is used as a staging base for missions around the capital and in neighbouring provinces.

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.

The latest attack came as the US military has retreated to a more cautious position following a widespread rumour about the killing of the powerful police chief of Kandahar province, which has created mistrust with Afghan allies.

On Oct 18, the chief, General Abdul Raziq, was shot dead by a teenage Taleban infiltrator as he was walking out of a meeting with the top US and Nato commander, General Austin Miller.

Gen Miller, who was standing steps away, survived a second round fired in the direction of the other dignitaries.

As detailed in a New York Times report, a guard at the scene, who US officials said they believed could have been a second infiltrator, shouted that the Americans had shot the Afghan general.

It led to tensions with Afghan forces that cast a cloud over the relationship. Afghan and US forces clashed as the US convoy was leaving the compound, with US forces shooting one Afghan guard dead.

The US military has struggled to contain the disinformation, and senior Afghan officials have tried to quash the rumour. The concern peaked after an Afghan commando opened fire on coalition forces on Oct 22 in the west of the country.

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