Islamabad, Aug 30 (IANS) At least 18 militants were killed on Thursday during an operation conducted by security forces in Pakistan's northwestern Bajaur tribal region, reports said.
Local media quoted security forces as saying that two commanders of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were also killed during the operation, reported Xinhua.
These clashes between security forces and militants started a week ago when dozens of unknown militants from Afghanistan attacked Pakistani security forces in the Bajaur Agency, bordering Afghanistan.
Local people told media that huge casualties on both sides were feared as heavy weapons were used in the clashes.
Security forces also speed up the search operation in border areas of Batwar, Kambili and Tendo Dak in Salarzai Tehsil of the agency.
An official from the area told local Urdu TV channel Dawn News that security forces and volunteer local fighters had been targeting suspected militant hideouts in hilly areas with artillery and other automatic weapons besides using gunship helicopters as the militants were offering stiff resistance.
The security forces had also captured three important positions held by the militants and destroyed dozens of their hideouts, the official said.
The tribal sources told media that many families had been stranded in the affected areas while some had left homes before the clashes.
Earlier on Wednesday, at least six militants were reportedly killed and three security personnel injured during fighting in parts of Salarzai area of Bajaur agency.
In another incident on Wednesday, at least nine Pakistani soldiers and 10 militants were killed during clashes that started after some unidentified militants attacked a security check post in the country's northwest tribal area of South Waziristan.