Kabul, May 19  A senior Taliban official has repeated the group’s as-yet-unfulfilled pledge to allow girls back into high schools, saying there would be “good news soon”, but suggested that women who protested the regime’s restrictions on women’s rights should stay home, CNN reported.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, Afghanistan’s acting interior minister and the Taliban’s co-deputy leader since 2016, made the comments in the first on-camera interview showing his face with CNN.

When asked about Afghan women who say they are afraid to leave their homes under Taliban rule, and those who have reported a chilling effect of the militant group’s leadership, Haqqani added with a laugh: “We keep naughty women at home.”

After being pressed to clarify his comment by CNN, he said: “By saying naughty women, it was a joke referring to those naughty women who are controlled by some other sides to bring the current government into question.”

Haqqani also set out some parameters for the future of women and work, which will be limited by the Taliban’s interpretation of Islamic law and “national, cultural and traditional principles”.

“They are allowed to work within their own framework,” he told CNN.

“Already girls are allowed to go to school up to grade 6, and above that grade, the work is continuing on a mechanism,” Haqqani said.

“Very soon, you will hear very good news on this issue, God willing,” he added, without specifying a timeframe, CNN reported.

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