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First Lady Talks About Afghanistan's Future

First Lady Laura Bush sat down for an exclusive interview with VOA's TV Ashna to talk about her hopes for Afghanistan and her own plans for the future

Washington, D.C., January 17, 2008 - In an exclusive interview with the Voice of America (VOA) at Georgetown University, First Lady Laura Bush talked about her hopes for Afghanistan, the assassination of Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto, and her own plans after leaving the White House.

Mrs. Bush, a teacher and librarian herself, told VOA, "I think education is the single most important function that the government can provide…because it will make all the difference for the next generations of Afghanis." She added that that "there is a huge need for basic infrastructure: for roads, so that remote areas of Afghanistan can be joined to the rest of the country, clean water, food, shelter...all of those are basic necessities that the international community can help and has helped."

Speaking about Pakistanis who had supported Benazir Bhutto, Mrs. Bush said, "I stand behind people reaching out for democracy, and also I grieve for the life of Bhutto and I send my condolences to the people of Pakistan."

After leaving the White House, Mrs. Bush said that she plans to devote her time to the Bush Library and that she hopes to continue her commitment to helping Afghanistan "for the rest of my life."

The interview was with VOA's Afghan Service that broadcasts TV Ashna in Dari and Pashto to Afghanistan from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. from Saturday through Thursday on National Afghan TV. Broadcasts are also available by satellite on Asiasat 2 and for Europe on IOR Channel 409. In addition, VOA broadcasts 12 hours combined of Dari and Pashto programming daily on radio.

The VOA interview with Mrs. Bush will be available on and will be broadcast today and tomorrow in English and other languages.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail