As clashes continue in the city of Lashkargah, Helmand’s capital, a health clinic and a school were destroyed in airstrikes and officials said that at least 20 civilians were killed in the fighting in the last 48 hours.
Helmand residents said most of the civilians, including women and children, were killed in rocket attacks and airstrikes.
The clashes were mostly focused on districts 1 and 2 of Lashkargah. These two districts have been cleared of the Taliban, security officials said.
A video from Helmand shows the destroyed building of Shaheed Anwar Khan High School in Lashkargah’s District 2.
Other footage shows a government-owned health clinic in Lashkargah’s District 7 that has been destroyed during the clashes.
Security sources said that the Taliban were hidden in those two areas and were targeted by US airstrikes, probably B-52 bombers.
“It was 10pm at night when the airstrike was carried out. Then the school caught fire,” said Mohammad Nabi, a guard at the school.
Lashkargah has witnessed street-by-street fighting between government forces and the Taliban for the past 10 days.
Health officials said many of the civilians killed were caught in the fighting.
“Most of them were killed or wounded in the crossfire,” said Sher Mohammad Shakir, head of the public health directorate of Helmand.
All departments of Bost Hospital in Lashkargah have been allocated to treat war victims.
“I was wounded in a clash in Bost area,” said Habibullah, a wounded resident.
“I was injured in a rocket attack,” said Faizullah, a resident of Lashkargah.
Local officials said Taliban attacks continue to be launched against the police headquarters and the NDS facility in Lashkargah, but security forces have managed to make some progress in the last few days.
“Our forces are trying to clear Lashkargah of the Taliban,” said Fawad Aman, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense.