Laura Bush, the former first lady, has hinted she would rather vote for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump, saying she wants the next American president to be someone who cares about women in Afghanistan.

The Democratic front-runner is the only female candidate left in the race and visited Afghanistan four times during her stint as Secretary of State.

Mrs Bush, 69, made her comments during the annual Women in the World summit held in New York, a gathering of female business leaders, campaigners and role models from around the world.

Although much of the three-day summit focused on protecting women’s rights during war or under repressive regimes, the programme was at times overshadowed by the US election campaign and claims that Donald Trump had unleashed an ugly wave of misogyny.

Mrs Bush, who recently published a book on Afghan women in conjunction with her husband’s George W Bush Institute, was careful not to endorse or condemn any one candidate.

But she signalled she was among the growing band of establishment Republicans whose anyone-but-Trump stance extended to voting for Mrs Clinton in the general election.

“I want our next president – whoever he or she might be – to be somebody who is interested in women in Afghanistan and who will continue US policies… that we continue to do what we’re committed to do as a country,” she said, as she appeared on stage alongside her twin daughters Jenna and Barbara.

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