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Afghan First Lady Eyes More Public Role

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his wife Rula Ghani.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his wife Rula Ghani.

Rula Ghani, Afghanistan's new first lady, has said she hopes to have a public role and to strengthen the position of women in the deeply conservative society.

In an interview published by the Los Angeles Times on October 12, Ghani said she wants to promote the role of women within the "close networks" of families but without drastically upsetting Afghan society.

Ghani said she wants to support every "woman who wants to better herself and improve her standard of living within the [societal] norms she is living now."

Former President Hamid Karzai's wife, Zinat, was rarely seen in public and was dubbed Afghanistan's invisible first lady.

Rula, the wife of President Ashraf Ghani, kept out of her husband's presidential campaign.

A Lebanese-born Christian, she first lived in Kabul in the 1970s after their marriage.

The couple left for the United States in the late 1970s and returned to Kabul after the fall of the Taliban government in late 2001.

Based on reporting by