Afghan pilot writes emotional open letter to family of fallen US colleague
‘Your husband taught me…to be a better father, to be a better husband, and to be a better man.’
The wife of a Utah mayor who died while serving in Kabul has received a letter from an Afghan military officer describing how her husband “taught me to love my wife as an equal and treat my children as treasured gifts”.
North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor, 39, was a major with Utah National Guard and helping to train local defence forces when he was killed on Saturday in what was thought to be an “insider attack” by a member of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.
Now Major Abdul Rahman Rahmani, an Afghan pilot and Marine Corps University graduate who served alongside Taylor, has penned an open letter to his former colleague’s wife Jennie, opening up about all he learned from her husband.
Dear Mrs. Taylor,— Abdul Rahman Rahmani (@rahmanrahmanee) November 5, 2018
Maj Taylor was my friend. I wrote this letter for his family.
I hope this little contribution eases your pain.
Note: this letter was sent to his physical add by one my American mentors. I tried to email too but I failed to find her email. pic.twitter.com/28nH7o4W6D
In it he described how knowing Taylor changed his relationship with his own wife.
He wrote: “He was an inspiring man who loved you all. I remember him saying, ‘Family is not something. It is everything’.
“You may or may not be aware of some of our cultural differences, but in Afghanistan family is not everything, for many of us, family are treated as property.
“Here, a woman cannot express herself fully, either inside or outside the house. Here, most families treat children unfairly.
“Let me admit that, before I met Brent, even I did not think that women and men should be treated equally.
“Your husband taught me to love my wife Hamida as an equal and treat my children as treasured gifts, to be a better father, to be a better husband, and to be a better man.”
He went on to describe Taylor as a “great man” and a “true patriot”.
“He died on our soil but he died for the success of freedom and democracy in both of our countries,” Rahmani wrote.
The letter struck a chord online with many in the armed forces and beyond.
I never met MAJ Taylor or MAJ Rahmani, but over the years I have known many Coalition and Afghan soldiers just like them. While I mourn the loss of MAJ Taylor and hope for MAJ Rahmani’s continued safety and success, I am grateful to have served alongside so many like them. https://t.co/8YCF9GAteW— Pete Monks (@Pete_in_Kabul) November 7, 2018
I want to share this on #ElectionDay. My brother was Major Brent Taylor's campaign manager & a close friend of Brent & his family. My sister grew up w/& is friend's w/Brent's wife. Brent was a great person. Thank you @rahmanrahmanee for this great tribute. #family #love #peace https://t.co/7ahOUa4OVz— Steve Gerritsen (@stevegerritsen) November 6, 2018
A beautiful tribute to an American soldier, from his Afghan brother in arms. https://t.co/aMUn8XdxA2— Bill McGurn (@wjmcgurn) November 5, 2018
In his final Facebook post, Taylor encouraged everyone in America to go out and vote in the midterm elections.
Freedom: Millions Defy Taliban and Vote in Afghan Elections “The secret to happiness is freedom… And the secret to...Posted by Brent Taylor on Sunday, October 28, 2018
His body was repatriated on Tuesday and Jennie Taylor said: “It seems only fitting that Brent, who in death now represents something so much greater than any of our own individual lives, has come back to US soil in a flag-draped casket on our election day.
“It is timeless and cherished honour to serve in our country’s armed services. That honour has been Brent’s as he served in the Utah National Guard for the past 15 years. And it has been mine just as long as I have proudly stood by his side.”