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National Guard Medic On Whether U.S. Left Afghanistan Worse Than We found It

River to River, hosted by Ben Kieffer

Between 2010 and 2011, Cera Wilkins was deployed to Afghanistan. A medic in the Iowa Army National Guard, she enlisted while her then-boyfriend was at basic training. Reflecting on her deployment, she said she was amazed by the Afghan women she met in-country. And with the United States leaving, she wonders what will happen to those women.

On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with Wilkins about her time as a soldier for IPR's "Leaving Afghanistan" series.

Later, we hear an archive of his conversation with writer Tim Winegard about his 2019 book tracking the immense impact mosquitos have had on our world.


  • Cera Wilkins, former Iowa Army National Guard medic
  • Timothy Winegard, author of "The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator"
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Rick Brewer was a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River
Zachary Oren Smith is a reporter covering Eastern Iowa