KABUL, Afghanistan – The spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan says around 100 American troops have been deployed to a southern city at risk of falling to the Taliban.
Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland said Monday that the soldiers are in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, to provide training and support to Afghan forces.
The Taliban have seized a number of nearby districts in recent weeks and now threaten to overrun the city itself. Local officials have estimated that around 80 percent of the province has fallen or is in danger of falling to the Taliban.
Helmand is strategically important to the insurgents, as its opium crop produces most of the world's heroin. The crop, worth up to $3 billion a year, helps fund the insurgency.