Former AIC professor talks about time in Afghanistan, watching Taliban gain control


(WWLP) – As the world continues to watch the collapse of Afghanistan, local residents are speaking out about their time helping to build up that country and how devastating it is to watch it fall. 

22News spoke with a former American International College professor and Peace Corps member who spent years in Afghanistan. There is a growing concern about what will happen to women under Taliban rule. The professor 22News spoke with said she is deeply worried about their future, and some of them are her former students. 

“It’s not safe it’s not safe for women to be out on the streets,” said Robin Varnum, PhD. 

In the 1970s. Varnum spent three years teaching English at a girl’s school in Afghanistan while a part of the peace corps. Upon returning home, she went on to become an English professor at AIC. She retired a few years ago and has since written a book about her time in Afghanistan. 

“It was on a path to development while we were there,” said Varnum. “It was a hopeful time, my title is ‘Afghanistan a time of peace.’” 

She remembers when the Taliban first took over the country in 1996 when women were banned from working, going to school, or leaving the house without a male guardian. Now she fears history will repeat itself, 20 years later. 

Varnum added, “If you want to be part of your community if you want to accomplish anything in life you need an education.” 

Taliban officials are trying to reassure women that things will be different this time. In a news conference, a Taliban spokesman said that women would be allowed to work and study. But Americans who worked there, feel differently. 

“All that we have invested in that country seems to be down the tubes,” Varnum said. 

The White House says right now, they’re focusing their efforts on evacuating Americans and allies out of Afghanistan. 

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