Peshawar, Sep 12 : Pakistani troops killed up to 100 militants in a restive northwestern tribal area near the Afghan border after the rebels ambushed a security patrol, a security official has said.
"We launched strikes against militant hideouts in Bajaur and destroyed several compounds they were using," the official told reporters.
"According to the latest information from the area, between 80 and 100 militants were killed," the Daily Times quoted the official, as saying.
The ambush took place near the town of Inayat Kili, the official said, adding that the subsequent military strikes had destroyed an entire market used by the Taliban militants for cover.
Ground forces backed by helicopter gunships, planes and tanks pounded suspected militant positions in Rashakai, Lowi Sam, Bai Cheena, Banda, Kerala, Damadola and other areas, damaging dozens of hideouts and shops.
Local people said a number of non-combatants were also killed.
They said security forces had entered Lowi Sam and Rashakai but were yet to fully secure the areas which had been under militants' control for some time.
The latest death toll was based on intelligence intercepts of militant communications, the official said.
According to a tribesman, about 30 shops were destroyed in the attack. He said the Taliban office was located in a commercial centre which was completely destroyed.
Officials said the offensive had been launched at the request of tribesmen to clear the area of militants.