A member of the U.S. armed forces was killed and two others were wounded in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, where fierce fighting has been going on between Taliban insurgents and Afghan government forces, a U.S. army spokesman said on Tuesday.

The fighting, which reflects intensified efforts by the U.S. and its Afghan partners to push back against recent Taliban gains, was near the city of Marja, which shares a border with Pakistan. The Taliban in recent weeks have focused their efforts on retaking parts of Helmand, and the U.S. has countered with special operations forces working with Afghan troops.

Details on the battle Tuesday were sketchy.

Marja, Afghanistan

The fighting occurred near the Afghan city of Marja in Helmand province. The Taliban in recent weeks have focused their efforts on retaking parts of Helmand, which borders Pakistan. (Google Maps)

In a brief written statement announcing the battle, the U.S. military command in Kabul said one died of wounds sustained "during operations" in Marja, and that two were wounded. The statement did not identify their service branch. Two U.S. officials said they were special operation troops.

"We are deeply saddened by this loss," said Brig. Gen. Wilson A. Shoffner, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. "Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of those involved."

A U.S. helicopter was sent to evacuate the casualties but did not immediately take off because of an unspecified problem.

With files from The Associated Press