The Taliban assault on the outskirts of Kandahar was the latest display of strength by the militants that has rattled the country, despite a record number of U.S. and NATO troops committed to Afghanistan. The push into Arghandab came three days after a coordinated Taliban attack on Kandahar's prison, which freed 400 insurgent fighters.
The hardline Taliban regime, ousted from power in a 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, regarded Kandahar as its main stronghold, and its insurgent supporters are most active in the country's volatile south.
Meanwhile, the British Ministry of Defense said four British soldiers were killed when an explosive was detonated against their vehicle during a patrol in neighboring Helmand province on Tuesday. At least one soldier was wounded.
It was one of the deadliest attacks of the year on international troops. Four U.S. Marines were killed in a roadside bomb in nearby Farah province earlier this month, but prior to that, no more than three international troops had been killed in any one attack in Afghanistan this year.
Aleem Agha and the Associated Press contributed to the reporting of this story.