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Authorities said forces have managed to secure several areas in the tribal region. — Photo by Reuters

PESHAWAR: Officials said Friday that a four-day air and ground offensive against militants in the Kurram tribal district had left 42 enemy fighters and eight soldiers dead.

There was no independent confirmation of the death toll because journalists and aid workers do not have free access to the tribal region.

“We have cleared the Jawaki, Mantao and Sarkat areas of central Kurram during four days of operations in the region,” a security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“We have killed 42 militants and injured over 100. Eight soldiers have also been killed. Taliban are on the run and we are marching ahead,” he said.

Another official said that at least 40 militants had been killed in Kurram, a flashpoint for sectarian violence between Shia and Sunni Muslims.

“At least 40 militants have been killed by the forces. Resistance by the militants against the military is very limited,” said Shahab Ali Shah, a local government official.

He said that more than 500 families who fled the fighting had registered with the government for shelter. Around 28,000 people are understood to have fled the offensive, but most have sought accommodation with relatives.

Pakistan's seven tribal regions bordering Afghanistan are rife with a home-grown insurgency. Washington has called the region the most dangerous place on earth and the global headquarters of Al Qaeda.

In the tribal district of Khyber, local administration official Syed Ahmed Jan, a local administration official, said 10 people were killed in clashes between the Lashkar-i-Islam network and a pro-government militia.

Although Pakistan has fought home-grown Taliban militants across much of the tribal belt, it has withheld American pressure to move against the Al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network in North Waziristan.