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Former Utah mayor who stepped down to serve in Afghanistan killed in action Saturday

Afghan policemen keep watch following an air strike from an Afghan military helicopter during ongoing clashes between Afghan security forces and militants near the Eid Gah Mosque in Kabul on August 21, 2018. - Military helicopters were firing above a mosque in Kabul's old quarter Tuesday as officials said fighting had broken out between security forces and militants in the Afghan capital, with a barrage of rockets striking the city. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP)

Multiple media reports have confirmed that former North Ogden, Utah mayor Brent Taylor was killed in action in Afghanistan Saturday in an apparent insider attack.

Taylor, who is a member of the Utah National Guard, was elected as mayor of North Ogden (population 17,357) in 2013, and re-elected in 2017, according to Deseret News.

When he was ordered to deploy to Afghanistan in January, he announced that he would take a one year leave of absence as mayor. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Taylor told his constituents, "Serving as the mayor of North Ogden city has been one of the greatest honors of my life and the highlight of my civilian professional career. Service is really what leadership is all about."

Taylor was a member of an advisory team that was training members of the Afghan commado team on combat operations. According to the Washington Post, Taylor was killed when a member of the Afghan security forces opened fire on U.S. forces in an apparent "insider attack." The attacker was promptly killed by other Afghan troops.

This was Taylor's fourth deployment to a combat zone, according to Deseret News. During a 2007 deployment in Iraq, Taylor and his wife Jennie led an effort that collected $75,000 worth of humanitarian aid items from Utah residents that Taylor distributed to rural Iraqi villages. In Facebook postings during this current deployment, Taylor lamented that he had to watch his youngest daughter take her first steps via Skype, and that he missed his 15th anniversary with his wife.

Taylor leaves behind a wife and seven children, and a town that grieves their popular mayor. When he deployed in January, several hundred North Ogden residents lined the streets to wish him a fond farewell, not knowing that they would never see their mayor again.

The city of North Ogden is planning a memorial for Taylor, but details of the event have not been released yet.

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