Airstrikes pummel Taliban positions in southern Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – The Afghan defense ministry says U.S. and Afghan airstrikes are hitting Taliban targets in an effort to dislodge the insurgents after they pushed into the Helmand provincial capital of Lashkar Gah.

The United Nations and Human Rights Watch have asked both sides to take care to prevent civilian casualties as the fighting rages on Wednesday.

A lawmaker from Helmand says his relatives and constituents have told him of bodies in the streets and residents hiding inside their homes, too afraid to venture out and collect the dead.

The Taliban have waged a fierce push over the past months as U.S. and NATO forces complete their pullout from the war-torn country.