ISLAMABAD - At least four soldiers and nine militants were killed during an operation on Saturday in Waziristan region where the army is fighting a major offensive against Taliban insurgents.

The military said the incident took place in the Pre Ghar area on the border between North and South Waziristan tribal regions.

“At least nine terrorists were killed in a cordon and search operation. Four soldiers also embraced shahadat (martyrdom),” the military said in a statement issued in Rawalpindi.

According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistan Army conducted a search operation at the border of the South and North Waziristan and killed nine terrorists. During the operation four soldiers were also martyred.

Another report says the militants, equipped with heavy weapons, attacked a checkpost of the security personnel in tehsil Ladda of South Waziristan Agency (SWA) and killed four security men besides injuring three others. The security forces cordoned off the area after the attack and started a search operation during which nine militants were killed.

The conflict zone is remote and off-limits to journalists making it difficult to verify the army’s claims, including the number and identity of those killed.

Pakistan has been battling a homegrown insurgency for over a decade following the late 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

The army began a major campaign against Taliban and other militant strongholds in the North Waziristan tribal area in June last year and authorities have now vowed to intensify operations both in the border regions and across the country.

The military says more than 2,700 militants have been killed since the launch of the major offensive.