EL CAJON, Calif. (AP) — When Yousef’s wife and their four children boarded a July 15 flight in San Diego to attend her brother’s wedding in Afghanistan, they were looking forward to a month of family gatherings. It was long overdue — the coronavirus pandemic prevented them from traveling earlier.

Their return ticket was Aug. 15, two days before their children’s school year began in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon.

But the Afghan Americans found themselves dodging gunfire and trying to force their way into the crowds of thousands ringing the airport in Kabul after Afghanistan’s government collapsed

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