Saturday, September 25

An Italian plane takes off amid gunfire as it evacuated 100 civilians at Kabul airport


Correspondent in Italy

Updated:

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Fear and anguish seized an Italian Air Force C-130 plane that was participating in evacuation operations from Kabul airport. According to the first reports from the Italian media, he was the target of an attack shortly after takeoff, at 7 in the morning, from the runway of the Hamid Karzai airport in the Afghan capital. Aboard the plane 98 Afghans traveled who fled the country and some Italian media journalists who in the last hours have reported what was happening in Kabul. The pilot performed a maneuver to avoid the shots. Initially, passengers thought of some air turbulence. They were then informed of the attack. The plane landed undamaged in Kuwait, as planned.

Denial

After the first information from the Italian military, who indicated the plane of their air force as the target of the shots, the Italian intelligence services denied the initial news. According to these sources, collected by Italian newspapers, coinciding with the takeoff of the plane a Afghan machine gun fired into the air to disperse the crowd that was crowding towards the entrance of the airport.

Version of a journalist on board

The special envoy of the newspaper ‘La Repubblica’, Giuliano Foschini, who was traveling in the Italian Air Force plane, recounted the episode as follows: «Shortly after taking off from Kabul airport in a stretch of airspace on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the C-130 was flying, along with with 98 Afghan refugees evacuated, it was illuminated by a laser; an event followed by explosions, which, they explained, would have been anti-aircraft weapons, perhaps a machine gun. At that moment, the plane’s commander, a young Air Force officer, raised the alarm and immediately proceeded to an evasive maneuver with the launching of flares, small rockets with a high content of magnesium that are used to confuse the aim and the direction of the projectiles or anti-aircraft missiles. They were, let’s say, difficult moments because all of us inside the C-130 were shaken by the evasive maneuvering of the plane, with a rapid loss and recovery of altitude. We owe our lives to the Air Force pilot, me and my travel companions », said Foschini, special envoy of” La Repubblica “.

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