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Local Afghan-Americans Filled With Fear, Desperation For Family Members After Attacks In Afghanistan

WESTMINSTER (CBSLA) - Local Afghan-Americans living in Southern California say they're fearful after attacks in Afghanistan.

At least 13 Americans were killed on Thursday in the suicide bombings, according to CBS News.

"It's devastating knowing that it's our Marines," said local military wife, Ann Lee Webb. "We may know some of the families. We don't know yet."

One woman said her family was waiting near a Kabul airport when a rumor started circulating about an imminent explosion.

"I woke up -- I don't know if it was 4 or 5 in the morning -- with this really bad chest pain, turned on the TV and saw that there was an explosion," said Neelob Kanishka.

Kanishka's sister, brother-in-law and nephew were headed to the airport for a flight out to France when the blast happened.

The Southern California woman said she was filled with desperation Thursday morning as she tried to find out if they survived the attack.

"They were running. And my sister is sick, she has health issues, and she hadn't eaten or slept for five nights, so they were literally dragging her. They finally got her out of there."

There was similar hopelessness for Sunbul Siddiqi, of Anaheim, whose brother-in-law was also near the airport at the same time as the bombings. He was there to present his papers to get to the United States, and fortunately, is accounted for.

"He was almost there and we are so glad that he is safe," Siddiqi said.

The man Siddiqi's brother-in-law was traveling with has yet to be heard from.

Siddiqui works at Access California Services, the Anaheim agency that has begun to process Afghan refugees who are trickling into Southern California. She said she worries for Americans who've gone back to Afghanistan to visit relatives.

Other local Afghan-Americans say the bombings are reminiscent of stories they've heard growing up about what Afghanistan used to be like.

"That brings back the stories I heard from my mom and dad when they left... when there were bombs and terrorist attacks around them," said Nahla Kayali, the founder of Access California Services.

Access California Services has already processed two Afghan families that were able to settle and more families are on the way.

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