An Afghan security official says troops fighting the Taliban across most of southern Helmand province desperately need reinforcements.

Provincial police chief, Gen. Abdul Rahman Sarjang, said on Wednesday that government forces are also facing serious challenges in Helmand's capital, Lashkar Gah.

He says the Afghan "forces are exhausted" and need reinforcements. He also warns that a lack of coordination between the army and police is hampering progress in the fight.

He says the Taliban are making serious stands in seven districts — Sangin, Gereshk, Khanashin, Musa Qala, Nawzad, Washer and Marjah — and that at least three districts of the capital are also under threat.

Helmand is a strategic region for the Taliban. It borders Pakistan and grows opium, the raw material for most of the world's heroin.