Around 100 U.S. troops in Afghanistan have been deployed to a southern city at risk of falling to the Taliban.
The spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan said the soldiers had arrived in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province, to provide training and support to Afghan forces.
The spokesman also said on August 22 that the U.S. soldiers would serve as a “new presence to assist the police zone.”
Taliban fighters have taken control of several nearby districts in recent weeks and now threaten to overrun the city itself.
The head of Helmand's provincial council, Kareem Atal, told the AP news agency that battles were under way "on several fronts" in the province, closing off roads and highways.
Helmand's annual $3 billion opium crop produces most of the world's heroin and is used to fund the insurgency. Its population is mainly Pashtun, the ethnic group from which the Taliban derives most of its support.