While recent work casts violent conflict and its resolution as a harbinger for women’s political empowerment, public attitudes towards women’s political participation in weak democracies plagued by insecurity remains relatively unexamined. We investigate whether and how conflict affects preferences for female leadership with a survey experiment in Afghanistan. We find that priming respondents with information about the ongoing conflict dampens support for female leadership – but only among women. There is suggestive evidence that the conflict prime bolsters women’s preferences for leaders from male-dominated security institutions. We supplement our experimental data with external survey data that lends additional support to our findings.