Hundreds of members of the Afghan security forces have been killed during an ongoing militant assault on a main city in the the troubled southern province of Helmand, local officials say.
According to Abdul Majeed Akhonzada, deputy head of the provincial council, and lawmaker Sheer Muhammad Akhon, more than 200 Afghan soldiers and police have been killed in the past 10 days in and around Lashkargah, the beleaguered capital of Helmand province.
Sources added that 100 security forces personnel were also wounded during the ongoing clashes with Taliban militants.
At least 45 civilians have also been killed during the fierce fighting across the troubled region.
Afghanistan has sent hundreds of troops to Lashkargah in a bid to purge the strategic city of Taliban militants. The troops were sent from the capital Kabul and nearby provinces to launch a "clearance operation" in Lashkargah.
The government's special envoy for security in Helmand province said more than 300 commandos had been deployed to the city on Tuesday to prevent Taliban advancement.
The ongoing assault on Lashkargah underscores Taliban's sustained push into urban centers, coming days after the militants stormed into Kunduz in the north.
Over the past few months, Afghan security forces have been trying to foil attacks by the group in Helmand and Kunduz.
Security forces are currently engaged in heavy fighting with the Taliban to retake the control of Kunduz, which fell to Taliban on October 3 for the second time in a year.
Taliban were ousted following a US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 but the group has gone from strength to strength despite the presence of foreign troops.