“Afghanistan faces utter disaster”: JOHN SIMPSON, Foreign Affairs correspondent discusses why he fell to the floor live on BBC radio as he spoke about a family that he was just filming

The temperature in Afghanistan is falling as the snow clouds gather. The winter is a difficult one for crops. This country faces utter ruin.

The aid agencies have warned that there are 23 million people now facing famine. And economists believe that at least 90% of the working population will go without any source of income.

While I was interviewing me on BBC Radio 4’s Today program about the crisis, Monday I allowed my emotions to take over. My emotions got the better of me when I spoke about a family I just filmed.

Perhaps you thought that after 55 years working as a foreign correspondent, I might be more capable of controlling myself. 

On Monday, while I was being interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about this crisis, I let my emotions get the better of me. I choked up when I started to talk about a family I had just been filming

My emotions got the best of me Monday as I was interviewed by BBC Radio 4 about this crisis. My emotions got the better of me when I spoke about a family I just filmed.

While my account moved many people, BBC has me travel around the world reporting, not emoting.

However, I am able to explain the reasons.

Fatima was a woman that we interviewed. She lived in Bamyan in a small hut on top of a rock face. Her husband is a widow, and she has seven kids. 

Although the family had no furniture other than a carpet from a previous life, the rooms were clean and spotless.

Fatima couldn’t offer us tea — the usual thing to give a guest in Afghanistan — because there wasn’t any. Every day the entire family lives on one piece of flatbread.

While I have witnessed a lot poverty, I can’t recall ever seeing people as dignified or decent in the midst.

Why should we even think of reaching out a hand to the Taliban (above), one of the world’s nastier collection of thugs? Because it might be the only way of feeding those at risk of starvation, and governments and aid agencies have to start acting very soon if they are to be saved

We should not even consider reaching out to the Taliban, one of the most vicious and violent gangsters in the world. It might be the best way to feed those who are at greatest risk. Governments and aid agencies must act quickly if this is to happen.

My two grown daughters have kids now. I also have a 15-year-old son who was born to me in my second marriage. When I first saw my family, I felt like I was seeing them in their own eyes.

If the winter is as bad as forecast, Fatima’s children may be skeletal — even dead — by January. 

While we were talking, I inquired if she had ever thought about selling her children in marriage to raise enough money for the winter. After she answered, I looked at the two oldest girls.

This would be terrible, but it could save her family’s lives. 

The daughters said they would hate the idea — but again, if it was necessary, they would agree. They won’t allow it to happen. 

Although the BBC does not pay interviewers, my team and I ensured that Fatima’s family is protected.

These were my thoughts when I was speaking in Today’s studio.

Fatima’s family is so important. They’re afraid for what the next few months will bring, even if everyone helps Afghanistan.

The Taliban are among the worst thugs in the world. Why would we consider offering a helping hand?

This is because it may be the only way to feed people at high risk of starvation. Therefore, governments and aid agencies need to act immediately if they want to save lives.

Fatima and her family are the ones who matter. 

It would be nice if I could get a little more attention to their situation by being sloppy on the radio.