The Taliban has launched a bold assault on government installations in the key southern Afghanistan city of Kandahar.
The attack has cast doubt on how successful the US-led coalition has been in its nearly year-long military campaign to restore security and bring stability to the former Taliban stronghold.
The offensive began at around midday on Saturday and gunfire was still ringing through Kandahar more than five hours later as military helicopters fired from overhead.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi says more than 100 militants have flooded the city, including men freed in a bold prison break last month.
The group said its aim is to seize control of the city.