A SENIOR BBC reporter has broken down live on air as he described the devastating hunger crisis taking hold in Afghanistan.

The country was abandoned to the Taliban by Western forces in August. Civil liberties have since been brutally repressed, with vital infrastructure crumbling, prompting demands for Boris Johnson to increase UK aid.

The BBC's foreign affairs editor John Simpson is in Bamiyan, central Afghanistan.

His voice trembled as he gave grim details about the humanitarian disaster, which has been compounded by colder winter weather and droughts.

The World Food Programme is currently struggling to provide food to 22 million people, with acute hunger and famine expected over the winter if conditions do not improve.

Simpson, speaking to BBC Radio 4, recounted meeting a widowed mother of seven in a cave near the site of the Bamiyan Statues, which have been destroyed by the Taliban.

He explained her only source of funds, gained from weeding crop fields, has been lost since the Taliban takeover as the local farmer can no longer afford to pay her.

“She’s got no money, she’s having to beg for fuel to make a fire and beg for flour, which used to be delivered under the old government before the Taliban came in,” Simpson said.

He became emotional as he added: “Looking round at those kids, I all … eh … it was quite difficult.

“I’m sorry to … you know I’ve seen a lot of bad things in my time but this was … it hasn’t yet happened but you know it’s just around the corner – and they know it.”

Simpson interviewed UN world food programme executive director, David Beasley, and asked what he would say to the world’s richest people as the crisis in Afghanistan unfolds.

“To the world leaders, to the billionaires, imagine if this was your little girl, or your little boy, or your grandchild about to starve to death. You would do everything you possibly could,” he replied.

“And when there’s $400 trillion of wealth in the world today – shame on us that we let any child today die from hunger. Shame on us, I don’t care where that child is.”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, responding to Simpson’s emotional report, renewed calls for the UK Government to step up support to the Afghan people.

Last month at Prime Minister’s Questions, he warned the humanitarian situation in the country following the Taliban takeover was “dire”.

"Given the history of the last 20 years, it should be obvious that we have a deep responsibility to this country and to its people,” Blackford said in the Commons. “They are dying and they need our help.”

Posting on Twitter in response to Simpson, the SNP MP added: “I warned @BorisJohnson about this two weeks ago at Prime Ministers Questions. Our withdrawal from Afghanistan has consequences. We have a moral responsibility to get humanitarian support to the people in Afghanistan.”

Speaking in the Commons last month, Johnson said that the UK Government had doubled its in-year aid commitment to £286m, but added: "What we can't do at the moment is write a completely blank cheque to the Taliban government, Taliban authorities, we need to ensure that that country does not slip back into being a haven for terrorism and a narco-state."