ISLAMABAD: Air strikes killed 43 militants near the Afghan border on Thursday, the military said, part of a major ongoing operation against Taliban and other insurgents.

The attacks took place in Gharlamai and Shawal areas of North Waziristan tribal region, where the army has been waging a major offensive to clear militant hideouts since June last year.

“Twenty-eight militants were killed in Gharlamai area and another 15 were killed in Shawal in precise aerial strikes,” the military said in a statement.

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 Islamist insurgency for over a decade following the late 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

The Pakistan Army began a major campaign in North Waziristan in June last year and authorities have now vowed to intensify operations both in the border regions and across the country.

Officials say nearly 3,000 militants have been killed since the launch of the latest offensive.