An Afghan official says troops have pushed the Taliban back from a southern city after the insurgents seized an area on its outskirts.

Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said Wednesday that the area known as Babaji, 12 kilometers (7 miles) from Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province, has been brought back under government control. He says reinforcements arrived and a clearing operation is underway.

Sediqqi says the Taliban overran several security checkpoints on the edges of Lashkar Gah on Tuesday, and fighting is underway in at least three districts outside the city.

The Taliban advance on Lashkar Gah came less than a month after the insurgents seized the northern city of Kunduz, holding it for three days before a government counteroffensive drove them out.