Afghan forces fired into the air to disperse crowds near Kabul airport on Thursday and not at a departing Italian military transport plane, as originally reported, a government source said, quoting intelligence assessments.

Earlier, a defence source in Rome said the C-130 transporter, carrying almost 100 Afghan civilians, had come under fire minutes after take off from Kabul. read more

There was no immediate official comment on the incident.

An Italian journalist however, told Sky TG 24 that she had been aboard the plane along with 98 Afghan civilians when it appeared to be targeted by machine gunfire.

“The pilot reacted promptly and implemented manoeuvres to avoid being hit within minutes of taking off from Kabul. There was a bit of panic,” said the journalist.

Italy is one of a number of countries looking to evacuate thousands of foreigners and Afghans following the collapse of a Western-backed government in Kabul and the arrival of Taliban forces into the city. 

Meanwhile, Britain’s defence ministry said none of its military or government staff in Kabul were amongst the casualties from explosions near the city’s airport earlier on Thursday.

“There have been no reported UK military or UK Government casualties following the incidents in Kabul,” the Ministry of Defence said. “UK forces are working closely with our partners to provide security and medical assistance.

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