The insurgents control vast swathes of the province, blighted by a huge opium harvest that helps fund the insurgency, and have repeatedly threatened to seize Lashkar Gah. American military commanders in Afghanistan have requested thousands of extra boots on the ground. Aerial views of Lashkar Gah, Helmand, Afghanistan, where the bomb blast killed at least 20 The Taliban effectively control or contest 10 of the 14 districts in Helmand, the deadliest province for British and US troops over the past decade. US troops in Afghanistan now number about 8,, and there are another 5, from NATO allies, a far cry from the US presence of more than , six years ago. They mainly serve as trainers and advisers. Mattis said he will present a new US military strategy for Afghanistan, along with adjusted troop numbers, in the coming weeks to President Donald Trump. Government spokesman Omar Zwak said, warning that the toll could rise, said: For years Helmand province, of which Lashkar Gah is the capital, was the centrepiece of the Western military intervention in Afghanistan, but it has recently slipped deeper into a quagmire of instability. Since they launched their spring offensive in late April, the Taliban have been mounting lethal assaults on the Afghan army and police outposts in Helmand. The bank is believed to have been especially crowded ahead of the Eid holidays marking the end of Ramadan. Intensified fighting last year forced thousands of people to flee to Lashkar Gah from neighbouring districts. No group has claimed responsibility for the brazen attack, but it comes as the Taliban ramp up their nationwide spring offensive despite government calls for a ceasefire during Ramadan. Afghan men carry a victim of a powerful car bomb in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, on June 22 Two men carry a wounded man on a stretcher to the back of a truck after the latest bloody attack during the holy month of Ramadan The bomb tore through a queue of civilians and government employees who had lined up outside the bank to collect their salaries. Washington is soon expected to announce an increase in the US military deployment to bolster Afghan forces as they struggle to contain the insurgency. The powerful car bomb struck a bank in the Afghan city of Lashkar Gah city as government employees were queueing to withdraw salaries in the latest bloody attack during the holy month of Ramadan.