When he left for Afghanistan in June amid escalating violence, Mr. Popal told his family he feared “he will never come back”.
A 14-year-old grandson, who lived in Afghanistan and interpreter for his grandfather, has been missing since the explosion and is feared to be dead.
The grieving family spoke to the Telegraph as the Foreign Office confirmed that three British nationals are now known to have died in the attack.
Meanwhile, the family of Sultan Mohammed Rez, a minicab driver also from north London, reported that he was killed in the blast.
He had entered Afghanistan a few days earlier to free relatives. He was killed alongside his Afghan son-in-law as he approached the airport gate when his daughter was already inside.
A four-year-old nephew is in a coma in a Kabul hospital, one of many family members now trapped in the country by the Taliban.
On Saturday evening, her desperate family in Colindale pleaded with the British government to seek new methods of evacuation after the airlift ended.
Popal family: “He was waving the passport when the bomb went off”
The grief-stricken Popal family told the Telegraph about a “loving and generous man” who had run the Madeena supermarket near Brent Cross for 20 years.
Speaking outside the family home near the store, Mr. Popal’s daughter Zohra described the chaos outside Kabul airport as terrorists struck.
“The Americans were on one side of the sewer canal and everyone was on the other side and the Americans were helping people if they were shown a British passport.
“My mother said my father waved the passport and suddenly the bomb went off. He had all of the family documents with him when he was killed. He was standing with his grandson Hameed.
“My mother told me that after the explosion they had to crawl because there was a lot of gunfire. She was not injured by the explosion, but she kept telling us that she had been covered in blood and human flesh by the explosion. She said it was stuck to her.
At least 185 people died in Thursday’s attack, which was blamed on IS-K, an offshoot of the so-called Islamic State terrorist group. These include 13 American soldiers.
After the attack, President Biden vowed to hunt down the organizers, and on Friday the White House said it had killed two high-profile Isis targets and injured another in a drone strike.
Mr Popal had lived in Britain for at least 20 years and was a highly regarded member of the local mosque, attending mostly in traditional Afghan attire.
“He was a very funny and very caring guy,” his daughter said. “The last photo we have is of them all sitting together having breakfast before heading to the airport for the last time.”