US Air Force loadmasters, assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, load passengers aboard a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III in support of the Afghanistan evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on 24 August 2021.
Reuters file photo

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.

There was no immediate official comment on the incident.

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

"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.