Afghan, US and Canadian troops have surrounded about 250 Taliban fighters who have commandeered people's homes in villages just outside Afghanistan's major southern city, officials said Wednesday.
Hundreds of Afghans - their cars and tractors piled high with personal possessions - were fleeing the battleground about 20 kilometers (15 miles) north of Kandahar city.
Provincial police chief Sayed Agha Saqib said the combined forces have killed some 50 Taliban in three days of fighting. Three policemen and one Afghan soldier also died, he said.
"The people are fleeing because the Taliban are taking over civilian homes," Saqib said. "There have been no airstrikes. We are trying our best to attack those areas where there are no civilians, only Taliban."