RAF pilots in charge of Afghan Mercy flights have revealed details of their brave escape.
One described the horror of taking off in Kabul and avoiding a bus on the runway just ten feet away.
Details of his life or death decision came as he evacuated 14,000 people in less than two weeks after the capital fell to the Taliban, with the only route being the airport.
Out of 99 squadrons, Wing Commander Kyu Latcham landed at a time when small explosions were taking place.
“The whole airfield was in chaos as it tried to get 365 people to safety,” he said.
He revealed: “Airfield lighting went down – it was either caused by an explosion or the generator went out.”
And he had to make an emergency move to avoid the bus during takeoff.
He added: “We flew about 200 feet from the bus and cleared the bus about ten feet. It was terrible. The man in the tower said he was praying for us.
Flight Lieutenant Neil Franklin, 40, described the horror of failing to land as hundreds of civilians filled the runway.
“We went back the next day and more than 100 men, women and children came out,” he said.
Paras chief Brigadier James Martin greeted his troops who ran to save the women and children from the airport suicide bombing.
He suggested that US troops fired at the crowd when the bomb exploded and that it was a mistake to say that British troops had not been killed.