KHAR (AFP) - Security forces pounded hideouts in a tribal region near the Afghan border on Wednesday, killing at least 16 rebels with links to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, officials said. The attacks took place in the Bajaur tribal district, where the military launched a major offensive against fighters in August. "Troops fired artillery and mortars onto hideouts of rebels in Loisam, Rashakai, Chinar and Babra areas, killing 10 militants and wounding eight others," a security official told AFP. Six other militants were killed by helicopter gunships in the same area, he added. There was no way to independently verify the tolls. The official also said a curfew was imposed Wednesday in Khar, the main town in Bajaur, as part of the military operation. All shops and offices were closed, the roads were empty, and all residents were ordered to remain indoors. The military has said that the fighting in Bajaur has been some of the heaviest since Pakistan joined the US-led "war on terror." It said more than 1,000 rebel fighters have been killed since it launched the offensive, including Al-Qaeda's operational commander in the region, Egyptian Abu Saeed Al-Masri. Almost 190,000 people have been displaced from Bajaur since fighting began, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said this week. Also in Swat, police said suspected Taliban militants killed four people, including a female politician of the local ruling party. Masked gunmen in the troubled Swat Valley barged into the house of the Awami National Party (ANP) local councillor and shot her and her husband dead as they slept, police official Abdul Malik told AFP.