As world watches scenes of starvation, is opinion on aid to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan changing?

ITV News Correspondent John Ray has spoken to a woman's rights campaigner who says the people of Afghanistan need sympathy and help for those suffering rather than enmity for the Taliban

The outpouring of compassion for the people of Afghanistan after the broadcast of our report from Kabul on Monday has been extraordinary. Time and again I’ve been asked: "This is so awful – what can I do to help? Where can I donate money?"

The situation in Afghanistan is so dire, that one father offered to sell his daughter to an ITV News team as he can no longer feed her and malnourished babies struggle for life in hospitals which lack medicines. Watch John Ray's heartbreaking report from Afghanistan.

A warning this video contains images viewers may find distressing.

This video contains distressing images

That will please – and surprise – the UN official we met today who told us funding has been hard to raise. The official had in mind, specifically, western nations, where donating to Afghanistan has been regarded as providing succour to the enemy. Perhaps public opinion will now begin to shift. Sympathy for the innocents, rather than enmity for the Taliban.

The worst drought in 30 years has been followed by a freezing winter in Afghanistan, leaving nine million people at risk of famine, reports ITV News Correspondent John Ray

The moral case for many is clear cut; Afghanistan is a mess we helped create. We must make amends. But the reality is more complex. For example, last month the United Nations faced a storm of controversy when it emerged it planned to pay the Taliban nearly $6 million (£4.4 million) for security to guard UN facilities. Those are likely the same UN facilities from which food supplies are distributed.

The reality is also uncompromising. The Taliban is in power and insists that aid and financial support must be delivered without condition. ‘’You were the occupiers and we are the liberators,’’ their spokesperson told me in Kabul. I spoke to a women’s rights activist on Tuesday, bravely staying in a country while others like her have fled for their lives. She continues to campaign for educational rights, for work rights, and for the equality of women. But she is gloomy. Fundamentally, she believes, the Taliban won’t change. But she believes the over-riding imperative is to help the millions suffering from hunger and from cold this winter; whoever’s paying the men with guns guarding the UN.

Click here to donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Afghanistan Crisis Appeal, a charity made up of 15 UK aid charities that specialises in humanitarian aid and disaster response. Its current appeal aims to help the 8 million people in Afghanistan who are at risk of famine this winter.