Taliban fighters have advanced in their fight against government forces on the capital of Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand, prompting many families to flee.
The battle near Lashkar Gah town came on Tuesday, three weeks after the armed group won its biggest fight since 2001, capturing the northern town of Kunduz and holding the city centre for three days.
“Helmand’s capital appears to be under serious military pressure,” a Western official told the Reuters news agency. “We’re hearing reports about civilians fleeing in large numbers.”
Mirza Khan Rahimi, the governor of the province, said heavy fighting had been going on for two days in the district of Gereshk to the north of the city. The fighting has threatened Highway One, the main transport artery linking the major southern city of Kandahar with Herat.