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Hundreds Of Afghan Troops Deployed To Southern City

Afghan National Army commandos load ammunition into their rifle magazines during an ongoing battle between Taliban militants and Afghan security forces in Helmand Province on October 10.

The Afghan government has deployed hundreds of troops to the southern city of Lashkar Gah as Taliban militants threaten to overrun the provincial capital of Helmand Province.

The Taliban launched a large-scale attack on the security checkpoints in Lashkar Gah on October 10, when a suicide car bombing that struck the city killed 14 people, including 10 Afghan police officers.

On October 11, government forces, backed by Afghan special forces and U.S. air strikes, were conducting clearing operations in and around the city.

"More than 300 commandos... have been deployed to the city to prevent Taliban advancement," said Abdul Jabar Qahraman, government special envoy for security in Helmand.

The Taliban has been on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah for months as part of their march across Helmand, where much of the world's opium is produced.

Provincial officials have said the Taliban now control 85 percent of the province, while only a year ago the government controlled 80 percent.

With reporting by AFP