U.S. forces launched airstrikes Friday to counter a major Taliban assault on an Afghan provincial capital, where terrified residents cowered in their homes amid explosions and gunfire as security forces try to beat the insurgents back.
Officials said Afghan special forces were also being deployed to the southeastern city of Ghazni after the latest attempt by the Taliban to capture an urban center, with the assault coming as pressure builds on the insurgents to enter peace talks.
At least one Afghan soldier has been killed and seven others wounded in the fighting, provincial governor spokesperson Arif Noori said.
As many as 11 Taliban fighters have been reported dead. Health officials in the province said the bodies of five police officers and 11 civilians have been transferred to Public Health Hospital.