Afghanistan

Afghanistan: RAF Pilot On Evacuation Flight Reveals Near Miss At Kabul Airport

Wing Commander Kev Latchman's C-17 aircraft missed a bus carrying evacuees by about 3m (10ft) at Kabul airport.

RAF pilot has said air traffic controllers were praying for him after his aircraft missed a bus carrying evacuees by about 3m (10ft) at Kabul airport.

The vehicle steered onto the runway as he was taking off.

Wing Commander Kev Latchman's C-17 transport aircraft was seen hurtling towards a line of three vehicles that had taken a wrong turn while trying to reach another evacuation flight.

The incident happened on 26 August at a time of acute tensions following a suicide bomb attack hours earlier that had ripped through crowds of people who had been waiting for evacuation flights.

The near-miss is just one of a number of stories to emerge from Operation Pitting, the UK's two-week evacuation mission from Kabul airport after the Western-backed Afghan government collapsed in a Taliban takeover last month.

The RAF flew more than 15,000 Afghans, British nationals and others to safety in the biggest evacuation effort since the Second World War.

Aircrew described what it was like to look after plane-loads of desperate Afghans, many who had never flown before and were traumatised after spending days in the heat and crowds outside the airport, waiting to be called forward for a flight.

Corporal Hayley Court, from 602 Squadron, was a cabin supervisor, carrying Afghan Nationals back to the UK and described the flight as "awful".

"They were traumatised, they were in shock.

"They couldn't speak any English so it was very hard for us to communicate… we had a lot of medical issues on board… the children's temperatures, a lot of panic with the mothers, one said 'my child isn't breathing but he was in a deep sleep… it wasn't a very good flight, to be honest'."