Widow of Utahn: “I have faith in the good people of Afghanistan”

Aug 17, 2021, 10:54 AM | Updated: 4:09 pm

Relentlessly Resilient widow of Utahn killed in afghanistan war memorial...

FILE: Jennie Taylor talks to guests about her husband, Maj. Brent Taylor, pictured at back, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2018, dedication ceremony for the newly renamed Major Brent Taylor Vet Center Outstation in North Ogden on Monday, June10, 2019. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

(Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

NORTH OGDEN, Utah — The widow of a Utahn killed in Afghanistan in 2018 describes the fall of Kabul as unfortunate, but said she believes in the people who fought alongside her husband. 

Maj. Brent Taylor, who was also the mayor of North Ogden, was killed in 2018 while serving in Afghanistan with the Utah National Guard. His widow, Jennie Taylor, spoke Tuesday with Utah’s Morning News on KSL NewsRadio. Listen to that interview here. 

“I don’t think any of us approve of what we’re seeing unfold right now — it’s heartbreaking, it’s devastating,” she said. “But I’ll tell you the question that hurts me the most is hearing people say, ‘Well, is it worth it? Was any of this worth it? Is this all a waste?’ And that’s where I just stop and say, ‘We can’t go down that path. We can’t possibly let this be seen as a waste of — waste of lives, or a vain effort to try to fight for humanity, to fight for freedom, to fight for opportunity.” 

Widow finds reason for optimism in Afghanistan and its future

While many worry that the rise of the Taliban once more in Afghanistan will mean widespread oppression, especially for women, Taylor said she believes the people of Afghanistan won’t want to go back to the way things were 20 years ago. 

“We can’t say that nothing was done. The seeds of freedom and democracy and women’s rights and participation have been planted,” she added. “I have faith in the good people of Afghanistan, the people who really have fought with us and for us and — and for freedom and justice everywhere. They’ve had a taste of that for 20 years. We’ve introduced them to what that can look like, to the value of having men and women working together.” 

Taylor said you don’t often see photos of this, but her husband worked alongside women who served in the Afghan military. 

“There were women in uniform, fighting for their country, fighting for their children. And so I’m hopeful that — not only that it’s a different Taliban, but it’s a different Afghanistan,” 

However, she said it might take time and hard work to see that happen. 

“I’m hopeful, I’m praying like the rest of the world that — that not only women, but just the people in general will be able to have some of those freedoms and maintain some of that stability and some of those opportunities that we literally have fought and died for, for 20 years.” 

Little value in pointing fingers 

Asked whether she shared criticism of President Joe Biden for the way in which troops withdrew from Afghanistan, Taylor said pointing fingers solves nothing. 

“I certainly would say I would have done it differently, and I wish it would have gone differently. But I think there’s little value in the finger pointing, and much more value in those — again, those pointed questions that we need to ask ourselves. We do need to ask our leaders, I think there are questions that need to be answered, whether by the White House or the Pentagon or whoever those policymakers are — I hope those hard conversations are being had,” she said. “I don’t think any of us — again, I don’t think President Biden himself approves of exactly how it happened. Even if he thought it would go well, none of us expected it to fall as badly and as quickly, so that finger-pointing — I’ll probably refrain from that. Do I think there’s room for improvement? Absolutely.” 

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Widow of Utahn: “I have faith in the good people of Afghanistan”