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Afghan pilot pens emotional letter to family of slain US soldier

06 Nov 2018 Salaam Times

KABUL -- In an emotional letter to the family of slain US Maj. Brent Taylor, slain in Kabul Saturday (November 3) in an apparent insider attack, an Afghan National Army pilot who worked alongside Taylor said their friendship inspired him to become a better man.

Maj. Abdul Rahman Rahmani, a pilot with the Special Mission Wing in Kabul, shared his letter on Twitter November 4.

Grief and consolation

"I want you all to know that most Afghans feel extreme sorrow and pain over the loss of your husband and father," he wrote to Jennie, the wife of his slain friend, and their seven children.

"I can't imagine your sorrow or sense of loss, but please don't think that the violent act that took his life is representative of us or our sentiments towards Americans," he said.

Taylor "died for the success of freedom and democracy in both of our countries", Rahmani wrote.

"I have lost eight members of my own family, including my father, three uncles and two cousins, in the devastating war," Rahmani said, adding that he has been wounded twice. "However, I will continue to still fight this 'good fight,' in the words of your respectful husband. I am fighting for a great cause."

Before meeting Taylor, Rahmani said, he did not think that women and men should be treated equally.

"Your husband taught me ... to be a better father, to be a better husband and to be a better man," he wrote.

Nobody immediately took responsibility for the insider attack that killed Taylor and wounded another American soldier. The incidents, also known as "green-on-blue" attacks, in which Taliban infiltrators or disgruntled members of the Afghan forces turn their guns on their foreign partners, have become a preferred war-fighting tactic for the Taliban.

"Initial reports indicate the attacker was a member of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces," NATO's Resolute Support Mission said in a statement, according to AFP.

The attacker was killed by "other Afghan forces", it said, adding that an investigation was under way.

The Taliban claimed two similar attacks in Kandahar and Herat provinces October 18 and October 22, respectively.

Gen. Scott Miller, the top NATO and US commander in Afghanistan, narrowly escaped the earlier attack, which killed powerful Kandahar Province police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq, a staunch opponent of the Taliban.

Another 13 people were wounded in Kandahar, including US Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Smiley.

'A great man'

Taylor was the mayor of North Ogden, Utah. He served two tours in Iraq and was on his second tour to Afghanistan when he was killed, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

In an email to Salaam Times, Rahmani called Taylor "a great man!"

"I have gained a lot of knowledge from him," Rahmani wrote, referring to Taylor. "He might not take credit for it if he was alive."

"Maj. Taylor knew Afghanistan ... He knew our history, culture and social norms. He was also very motivational," Rahmani continued.

"Afghanistan has never been a strategic ally of Russia or Iran in the past," he added. "If Afghanistan chooses a strategic partner in the future, it will be the US. The US also can count only on Afghanistan in the region."

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