Heavy clashes that began a week ago are still ongoing between government forces and the Taliban in Lashkargah, the provincial capital of Helmand province, said Attaullah Afghan, head of the provincial council.
The fighting continues near the police HQ, governor's office, prison, and other government buildings in PD1 of the city, according to Afghan.
“The Taliban reached the guard towers of the police HQ but the government forces engaged them,” he said.
Several airstrikes have been launched by Afghan and US air forces since Tuesday night, according to security sources.
A market area was damaged during the fighting.
“Both the Afghan forces and the Taliban have suffered casualties but there is no exact information yet,” according to the security sources.
Civilian casualties have also been reported but no exact information is available. Hundreds of families have been displaced.
On Tuesday, the commander of the Army's 215 Maiwand Corps, Gen. Sami Sadat, 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.
After the announcement, hundreds of commandos lead by Gen. Hibatullah Alizai, the commander of the Special Operations Corps arrived in Lashkargah to launch a clearing operation in the city.
Gen. Sadat and Alizai launched the operation on Tuesday night but said they have made “no major progress yet,” sources said.
However, Fawad Aman, the deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, said: “Fresh troops--including commandos--have been deployed to Lashkargah and a clearing operation has been launched. Because the Taliban hide in residential houses, the troops are moving slowly but carefully.”
“The situation is bad in Lashkargah, the Taliban have captured most areas of the city and only government buildings are under the control of the security forces,” said Nasima Neeyazi, an MP from Helmand.
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.”