Afghan citizens are terrified that Russia is waiting in the wings for the United States to pull out of their country and allow the Taliban to further destabilize it, Afghan-American activist Sonia Nassery Cole says.
"Afghan people would like America not to go. They truly believe that Afghanistan is going to blow up in pieces by the Taliban and [Russian President] Putin is going to come over," Cole told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV. "If they don't want the Taliban, Putin is going to take this opportunity, let the two fight and [then] take over."
Cole, director of the award-winning documentary "The Black Tulip," calls Putin a "sneaky man" who must not be underestimated because Afghanistan is "very vulnerable, up for grabs."
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"[The] Afghan population — 70 percent is under 35 years old. It's the youth that is running it, not old men," she said. "It's a young country that is starving for education. They are hardworking people, they are freedom fighters."
One example of the kind of pressure the Taliban is exerting in Afghanistan is the threats it made against women attempting to vote in the recent elections.
"It was really very difficult for the women to get out of Afghanistan to vote. Some really braved it and went out," Cole said.
"In cities like Kandahar and Herat … they got night letters under the doors to women by the Taliban saying 'if you come out then you will have the kind of torture that you've never seen before,'" she said. "We're talking about they cut their noses off, and their ears off [or] something worse than that.... Women got scared, but they really wanted to fight to vote. This is the beauty of my Afghan women, that's why I love them so much, they're so brave."
Many, she said, sent their young sons out to vote for them.
"The sons were kids, like 12 or 13 years old. They got to vote for their mother, but obviously it's fraudulent, so they're not picked as real votes," she said. "So, there's a lot of corruption in the voting. It's a disaster to tell you the truth."
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