Taliban tighten their noose around the capital of the disputed Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, where has been led a long battle, reported Reuters, citing local residents and officials.

Security forces and local leaders gave a different assessment of the risks the city of Lashkar Gah to fall, according to military commanders the situation has stabilized. But the authorities in the besieged city are increasingly pessimistic.

“If we don’t receive support from the central government, the province will collapse soon,” said provincial council chief Karim Atal. “If the government does not support Helmand, we will call on our people to grab weapons and fight against the Taliban,” he added.

Taliban are trying to turn Lashkar Gah in the second provincial capital, which they have captured after the US-led military campaign to overthrow them from power. The extremists had briefly captured the city of Kunduz last October before being banished from the Afghan army, with the help of American forces.

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