A former British soldier who fled from prison in Kabul has told Sky News he owes his life to the Afghan people who helped him escape and make it to the airport.
Ian Cameron was jailed in the Counter Narcotics Detention Centre Qasaba on the outskirts of Kabul for selling alcohol. He says customers included Afghan ministers and embassies.
The 58-year-old told Sky News he and his fellow inmates were aware of heightened tensions in the city, but it wasn’t until a political prisoner said “Ian, that’s the Taliban, and we need to get going” that he realised he had to take his chances.
Guards unbolted the prison doors allowing the inmates to start funnelling outside, where they heard “sporadic gunfire” and Mr Cameron was pushed back into the police commander’s office.
He then called his wife to tell her he loved her, saying “for the first time in my life I really thought I may not get out of this”.
Political prisoners gave him a headscarf to hide his appearance and tried to shield him from the Taliban.
“They basically put me in a little circle around them,” Mr Cameron said.
He added that he is alive today thanks to the help he received from the other prisoners.
Outside the prison, there was blood on the roads from where there had been a gunfight, according to Mr Cameron.
When he finally made it to Kabul airport, guards would not let him in as he did not have a passport or any documentation, so he was forced to make his way to a nearby safe house.
Wearing flip-flops and carrying just a few possessions, he made his way to the other side of the airport and to the safe house before boarding a British evacuation flight.
He said he tried to persuade an Afghan friend who helped him to attempt to board the flight too, but the man did not want to leave his family behind.
“I have promised him I will do everything in my power to ensure I can process an application for him to get repatriated as well,” said Mr Cameron.
Mr Cameron had been working in Afghanistan for 20 years and had previously served in the Royal Military Police.
He said he was recently working alongside the Afghan Governors Association, attempting to run parallel peace talks involving the business community rather than politicians, and the scenes he was now seeing in Kabul were “heart-wrenching”.
The Foreign Office has been contacted for comment.