KABUL — U.S. warplanes have repeatedly bombed a strategic district of Afghanistan's Helmand province that is being besieged by Taliban militants, NATO said Thursday.
Members of Resolute Support, as the NATO mission in Afghanistan is called, were also advising and helping Afghan forces fighting militants in the province, according to a statement from the coalition.
"We can confirm the U.S. has conducted multiple kinetic strikes in Musa Qala over the past 72 hours," the statement added.
There were conflicting reports about whether the Taliban had completely taken over in Musa Qala.
Omar Zuak, a provincial spokesperson, told NBC News that parts of the district had been lost and clashes were ongoing in the district center.
The head of the provincial council Karim Atal, meanwhile, insisted that the district as a whole had fallen.
"Over 30 security forces have been killed, around 60 injured and several more are missing," he said.
Atal warned that the whole province, including provincial capital Lashkar Gah, was under threat if Musa Qala remained in Taliban hands.
Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Dawlat Waziri said reinforcements had already been sent to Musa Kala.
"An offensive has begun and Afghan and coalition forces have also conducted several airstrikes that have killed dozens of enemy," he said.
On Wednesday, Atal told NBC News that militants had overrun much of Musa Qala and seized its main hospital.
If Musa Qala falls, provincial capital Lashkar Gah would be cut off from crucial Kajaki hydroelectric dam. Musa Qala would also give the Taliban direct access to the main southern highway linking Kandahar to Herat, the country's main city in the west.
Helmand is a militant stronghold and has been the site of frequent fighting since the Taliban was toppled in 2001.