Horeya Mosavi was only five or six years old, but she still remembers the exact night her terrified family fled their war-ravaged town in Afghanistan.

"You could hear bullets all night. It was like 5 a.m. and I'm still up. But I'm a kid, I don't know what's happening. But everyone's packing up and trying to find an escape".

Horeya Mosavi

Horeya Mosavi, a graduate student at the U of A, says she wants to return to Afghanistan to help the country continue rebuilding. (CBC)

It was the 1990s, and her country's government was in tatters following the withdrawal of Russian troops and the rise of Islamic militants known as the Mujahideen.

Her family fled to a refugee camp in neighbouring Pakistan, then to Iran, and finally, at age 17, to Canada, where Mosavi says she's grateful to live today.

"I feel like people who just come to Canada, they love it here. They can make choices. There's democracy," she told CBC News in an interview this week.

'You could hear bullets all night.' - Horeya Mosavi, fled Afghanistan during civil war in 1990s

"I do feel bad for all my friends who couldn't move here."

As her homeland recovers from another bloody war, and Canadian troops pull out for good this week, the Edmonton-based nutrition student is praying that Canada does not forget Afghanistan.

"It gets me really worried. I do get that really deep feeling that — what's going to happen next."

Mosavi says it's clear from her visit last year to Afghanistan that some progress has been made since Canada joined a NATO-led mission to dismantle Taliban training camps and train the Afghan police and army. 

"I actually felt safe."

But she worries how the country will fare, now that the Canadian military is pulling out, current president Hamid Karzai is not running again in the forthcoming election, and the U.S. is uncertain about its future role.

"If you had a war for 30 years, it's probably going to take 50 years to rebuild the country."

'Everyone has a story'

Horeya Mosavi says everyone from Afghanistan has a story to tell. One of hers involved a recent trip from Kabul, the capital, to Ghazni, a city about two hours south. She and her friends were talking to members of the Afghan National Security Forces — young men around 21 or 22 years old: "We stopped for a little bit, just to have a break and have watermelon, sitting there. And I hear this explosion, maybe 10 minutes after we're sitting. And I heard all those kids, they waved at us just when we came to sit down 10 minutes ago. And they were all killed. It was very sad. You just never know what's going to happen next."

'Money needs to keep flowing'

Mosavi's concerns are echoed by Sean Maloney, a history professor at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ont., and a frequent visitor to Afghanistan. 

"We don't want this place descending back into [post-Soviet] 1992, 1993 or the Taliban era," Maloney told CBC News in a phone interview this week from Kabul, where he witnessed the final lowering of the Canadian flag at NATO headquarters.

Maloney says it is the right decision to remove combat troops, and that Afghan troops "are well on their way to taking steps to develop increased security in their country."

But he is not sure it is the right move by Canada to end its training of security forces, and that the Afghan economy is not developed enough to sustain stability. He says Ottawa, at the very least, needs to continue some form of financial aid.

"I do think the money needs to keep flowing."

Feels abandoned

Mosavi sums up her feelings towards Canada's withdrawal from Afghanistan by one word: abandonment.

"Not just Canada but every other international force is slowly pulling out. I can't tell what's going to happen next," said Mosavi, who is president of the University of Alberta's Afghan Students' Association.

Afghan Canada withdraws 20140311

Cpl. Harry Smiley (L) and Cpl . Gavin Early take down the Canadian flag for the last time in Afghanistan on Wednesday March 12, 2014, bringing an end to 12 years of military involvement that cost the lives of 158 soldiers. (Murray Brewster / Canadian Press)

She agrees with Maloney that some kind of aid needs to continue, but doesn't know exactly what kind. She says because Afghanistan is a country of young people, children need to be the focus. 

According to the CIA's World Factbook, 64 percent of Afghanistan's population is 24 years old or younger, more than twice the ratio of Canada.

"[The children] are thirsty. They want to learn. Obviously, they want to see their country develop after the years."

Mosavi is now completing a graduate program in nutrition at the U of A, and hopes to return to Afghanistan to help its development in the post-NATO era.

"There's so much more that needs to be done."

With files from CBC's Terry Reith