The commander of the Army's 215 Maiwand Corps, Gen. Sami Sadat, on Tuesday urged Lashkargah residents to evacuate their houses as the ANDSF is planning large-scale operations to clear the city of Taliban.
Gen. Sadat said he made the announcement because the safety of residents is the priority of the ANDSF.
The clashes in Lashkargah, capital of the southern province of Helmand, have entered their sixth day.
On Tuesday morning residents of Lashkargah said that heavy fighting that had begun the night before was still ongoing close to the police HQ, the provincial governor's compound, the NDS office and the prison in PD1 of Lashkargah.
The residents said that Afghan forces airstrikes also continued in the city.
Karim Atal, a member of the Parliament from Helmand said: “The situation has worsened and fighting continues near the police HQ, governor's office and other parts. The Taliban are using people's homes as shields."
He said that the government airstrikes are also continuing in the city and added that “the civilian casualties are high.”
He said the support pledged by the government to the residents of Lashkargah has not arrived.
But security sources said that reinforcements were deployed to Lashkargah on Monday night.
Footage released on social media shows damaged buildings and smoke rising into the sky.
UNAMA on Tuesday tweeted that at least 10 civilians were killed and 85 more were wounded in Lashkargah’s clashes.
“Civilians are bearing the brunt as fighting enters Afghanistan’s cities,” it said, adding that “the Taliban ground offensive and the Afghan Air Force airstrikes are causing the most harm to civilians.”
However, local officials have not yet provided details about civilian and government forces casualties in the clashes.
“The shops are on fire. Civilian casualties are high, and airstrikes are ongoing,” said Jawid Ahmad, a resident of Lashkargah who fled the city for Kabul on Tuesday.
Social media footage also shows bodies out in the open in different parts the city.
On Monday the coordinator of the MSF Helmand project Sarah Leahy said: “There has been relentless gunfire, air strikes and mortars in densely populated areas. Houses are being bombed, and many people are suffering severe injuries.”
“Fighting within the city makes it harder for us to respond; our staff are part of the community and they, like many people, are afraid to leave their homes. It’s just far too dangerous and life is at a standstill,” says Leahy.
“Some of our colleagues are staying overnight in the hospital as it’s safer, but also so they can keep on treating patients. The situation has been dire for months but now it is even worse,” Leahy added.
A local source also said that hundreds of families have fled the city due to the fighting.
Local officials confirmed that all news broadcasts from Lashkargah have stopped--specifically four TV and radio stations have halted operations--because of the fighting and because “some areas where the TV and radio stations were located have been captured by the Taliban.”