SAWAI (AFP) A military commander said Tuesday a new air and ground offensive had killed up to 80 militants in Bajaur. The raids are concentrated around Mamoond, about 12 kilometres northwest of Khar, a notorious Taliban hideout. When we started the operation it was estimated that there were about 1,000 militants present in the area and 80 of them have been killed so far, Colonel Rana Munnawar told reporters at a briefing in the village of Sawai. There was no independent confirmation of the death toll. Local officials have given a combined toll of 43 militants killed since Saturday, and said two other militants were found hanging from a pole outside Khar. Four soldiers have been killed, Munnawar said. Militants from nearby districts Swat and Dir have also joined the fight, he added. Troops backed by jets, helicopter gunships and commandos swung into action Sunday in Sawai, some 22 kilometres northwest of Khar, where they have come under mortar and rocket fire, Munnawar said. He claimed the offensive had dislodged a Taliban command and control system, but expected main operations to take another 15 days. The colonel said troops had also captured the strategic height of Khaza, where the militants had attacked from bunkers and set up a training centre.