Excerpt:

Afghanistan's cosmopolitan new first lady has backed France's controversial ban on the niqab, comparing the full veil to "blinders" as she prepares to campaign for more respect for women in her conservative adopted homeland.

Rula Ghani shocked Afghan observers earlier this year when she appeared with her husband Ashraf Ghani during the country's presidential campaign, a rare example of a political wife sharing the spotlight.

Now the Lebanese-American of Christian heritage is set to carve out a role for herself as the patriarchal and deeply Muslim nation's first high-profile first lady.


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