It is difficult to independently confirm the clash or death tolls because access to Pakistan's tribal belt is restricted. — Photo by AP

PARACHINAR: Helicopter gunships pounded a militant hideout in northwestern Pakistan’s Kurram tribal region, killing at least 20 suspected insurgents, a government official said.

Jamil Khan said the army launched the strike Thursday morning in the Chinarak area of Kurram after receiving intelligence reports about insurgents gathering there.

He said the choppers also destroyed an explosives-laden vehicle.

Kurram is located near the Afghan border. Many Taliban militants escaping a Pakistan army operation in the nearby Orakzai tribal region are believed to have fled there.

It is difficult to independently confirm the clash or death tolls because access to Pakistan's tribal belt is restricted.

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