Second provincial capital in Afghanistan in danger of falling to Taliban

LASHKAR GAH , Afghanistan, Aug. 10 (UPI) — The capital of Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand province is in danger of falling to the Taliban, officials said.

Despite U.S. airstrikes, Lashkar Gah is under siege by Taliban militants who have closed off all access roads to the city of about 200,000 and have seized nearby territory. Local officials said the defense of the city’s center by Afghan soldiers will soon collapse without additional reinforcements, Sky News reported Wednesday. They added that soldiers are running out of food and police checkpoints into the city are falling.

In July the Taliban launched a major offensive across the 14 districts of the restive southern province, and controls or nearly controls 10 of them.

If the Taliban takes Lashkar Gah, it will be the second provincial capital to fall. They held Kunduz, in Afghanistan’s northern Kunduz province, in 2015 until they were driven out by U.S.-backed Afghan troops.

A statement by the provincial government said Afghan troops are engaged in clashes with the Taliban in the Nad-e-Ali, Garmsir and Nawa districts.

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