BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in: Audio/Video: Programmes: Breakfast with Frost
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Programmes 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
banner
Yvonne Ridley
Yvonne Ridley

BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW:

YVONNE RIDLEY SUNDAY EXPRESS JOURNALIST

OCTOBER 14TH, 2001

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST:

And now as promised in her first set piece television interview, someone who has got the latest on what the feelings are in Afghanistan because she was there and her story's in the Sunday Express for whom she went, Yvonne Ridley, good morning Yvonne.

YVONNE RIDLEY:

Good morning.

DAVID FROST:

One question just before, the story in the Mail on Sunday that you were seized on your way in, not on your way out, is there any truth in that?

YVONNE RIDLEY:

Absolutely none, it's just in the realms of fantasy and it's quite shocking journalism and you know I feel sorry for the readers who've been misled.

DAVID FROST:

You were free for how long before you were captured?

YVONNE RIDLEY:

I was in Afghanistan for two days and I was on my way back, I was 20 minutes from the border when unfortunately fate struck and I was captured.

DAVID FROST:

And you were captured because they spotted a camera?

YVONNE RIDLEY:

Yes I was sitting on a, on a donkey and the animal made as if to bolt and I shouted out and I went to grab the reins and as I grabbed the rein a camera that I had behind me swung forward into full view and, and I, you know that was it, the game was up.

DAVID FROST:

A lot of people have been saying, as Ann mentioned, in addition to paying the compliment to how well written this was which she said earlier on, that a lot of people have been saying this was a crazy thing to do, particularly with a single mother with a nine-year-old child, this was madness, would you do it again?

YVONNE RIDLEY:

Yes I would and I am absolutely staggered by the amount of criticism that's come from journalists and I can only think it's professional jealousy. What has been particularly hurtful is that much of the criticism has come from female journalists and you know we've fought for years to be treated as equals and for this sort of level of criticism it's, it's very sad.

DAVID FROST:

You say here, this is it, it's the end, I'm going to be stoned to death, I pray the first stone will knock me unconscious, I wonder how much pain I could┐were you thinking that all the time you were in captivity?

YVONNE RIDLEY:

That particular moment was, it was brought home to me but the time in captivity, there was some gallows humour, there was serious moments, it was, it was just a very bizarre period in my life.

DAVID FROST:

What, what did you learn out of this experience, what did you come back knowing about Afghanistan, maybe the role of women or other things, that you didn't know before your brief sojourn?

YVONNE RIDLEY:

The Afghanistan people are fantastic, they really are lovely and the women are also incredibly strong but unfortunately they have no role to play in the society at present and that's very, very sad. What I also learnt is the Taliban were very honourable and respectful people and they kept their word.

DAVID FROST:

What about your two guides, everyone seems worried about them, do you think they're in danger or are they imprisoned or┐

YVONNE RIDLEY:

Well there was a network of people who helped me in, in this, in this mission and there were two men arrested with me and I told the Taliban they had absolutely nothing to do with me and I have, you know, said please release them because they have played no part in this. It's a very delicate situation and people's lives are still at risk so it's an issue that I don't really want to dwell on.

DAVID FROST:

What about the Taliban, I mean how would you characterise them, I mean were they cruel, hostile, nice or what?

YVONNE RIDLEY:

They, they played a few mind games from, but on the whole they were very respectful, they weren't hostile, the only time I that I felt very uneasy was when I was in the company of a religious cleric and he made me feel very frightened and he asked me what I thought of Islam and if I would like to convert and I felt that it was a load of trick question and I was very fearful of how I would answer because of course it's the religious side of the Taliban that has introduced crazy rules and regulations, women are forbidden from buying new clothes, they can't have nail varnish, they're not allowed to sing, you know really crazy things.

DAVID FROST:

Well we'll turn to the latest news on Afghanistan with the Deputy Prime Minister in a second but thank you very much Yvonne.

YVONNE RIDLEY:

Thank you.

DAVID FROST:

For being with us.

END


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Breakfast with Frost stories