Family members said a 27-year-old Chicago-native was among those killed in a suicide attack on a popular Lebanese restaurant in Kabul on Friday.
Lexie Kamerman was working as a development specialist at the American University in Kabul and was one of 21 people killed in the attack.
"It's devastating news," said Kamerman's longtime friend Mary O'Malley. "Lexie was out there doing what she loved and what she felt most passionate about."
Family members said Kamerman took a job at the university “to help the young women of Afghanistan get an education and take their rightful place as leaders in Afghan society.”
"She would say how absolutely wonderful it was," said friend Sherrille Lamb. "She really loved it because she truly felt that she was helping the young ladies that were coming to the school she was working at."
“Her death is a shock to us all,” the family said in a statement. “We can’t imagine a moment going forward when she won’t be desperately missed.”
The family’s statement described Kamerman as “an amazing young woman – smart, strong, beautiful, funny, stubborn and kind. And fearless.”
"She went where she knew she could make a difference," O'Malley said.
Kamerman grew up in Wrigleyville, graduated from the Latin School of Chicago in 2004 and was a 2008 graduate of Knox College, where she was active in several community service projects.
"She was obviously in a very serious place, but she had a very lighthearted approach to life and always looked for the positive," said family friend and former coach Laura Coffman.
According to the Collegiate Water Polo Association, Kamerman was the former director of membership services and was a Knox College water polo alum.
"The CWPA family lost a wonderful person in Lexie and we are all grieving at this point," said league commissioner Dan Sharadin. "It is difficult to get your mind around such a senseless tragedy."
At least 21 people, including two other Americans and 11 other foreigners, were killed in the attack, NBC News reported.
The Associated Press quoted unnamed security officials as saying one attacker detonated a bomb and two others then fired on restaurant customers and employees. The other two were killed by security guards, according to the reports. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement Saturday that the attack was in response to a recent NATO airstrike in Parwan that caused civilian casualties.
Mourners visited the restaurant Sunday to honor the victims.