Colleagues, family mourn three Americans killed in Kabul attack

Last Updated Jan 19, 2014 9:00 PM EST

The three Americans killed this weekend in a Taliban attack at a Kabul restaurant have now been identified. Two of them worked at the American University of Afghanistan.

Friends and family of Lexi Kamerman have described the 27-year-old Chicago native as "smart, strong, stubborn and fearless."


 She took the job at the American University of Afghanistan less than a year ago, her family said in a statement, “to help the young women of Afghanistan get an education and take their rightful place as leaders in Afghan society."

Her American colleague, Alexandros Petersen, only recently joined the university as a professor.

University President Michael Smith spoke of their courage and sacrifice.


Alexandros Petersen had recently joined the American University as a professor.
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 "We have a saying here in Afghanistan among internationals that if you’re here, you’re here by choice, and that’s especially true for these two people," he said.

"They wanted to be here in Afghanistan, not somewhere else, and they wanted to make a difference in young people’s lives."

American Basra Hassan was also trying to make a difference in her work for UNICEF.

Afghans held a rally on Sunday denouncing terrorism. They lay flowers outside the restaurant where the bombing and shooting rampage killed 21 people

The Taliban said Friday's attack was in revenge for an airstrike north of Kabul.


American Basra Hassan was worked for UNICEF.
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 The U.S. launched an investigation and released early details Sunday, saying it regrets that "several" civilians were accidentally killed in an airstrike. It said Afghan and U.S. forces came under heavy gunfire from Taliban fighters firing from civilian compounds.

Just two days later came the attack on the restaurant.

But whether the Taliban was able to coordinate such an attack that quickly, or just used the airstrike as an excuse, doesn't matter for families of the victims.