MOHMAND AGENCY - At least 60 militants were killed and dozens others were injured when the security forces, backed by gunship helicopters and warplanes, launched a massive operation in parts of Mohmand Agency, close to the Afghan borers, on Tuesday. The security forces conducted the action using gunship helicopters and artillery, starting it in early hours of Tuesday. The operation against the suspected hideouts of the alleged militants in Safi, Pandeyali, Lakaro and Qandaharo continued with brief intervals. The officials claimed that 60 militants were killed whereas the local tribesmen also confirmed killing of two civilians. Most of the injured civilians were identified as Saddam and Taqseem Ullah Jan. Locals believed that the number of casualties was much higher than those claimed by the officials. Amir Said, a militant commander, was also among the killed, while officials believed that two important commanders were amongst the killed persons. During the military action, the forces also demolished the houses of several tribesmen on the charges of extending support and shelter to Taliban militants. The security forces are engaged in military action against the militants for the last several days. Some two days back, security forces shot dead 14 militants during a military action in the area. AFP adds: The operation was made public as General David Petraeus, the US commander for southwest Asia and a key advocate of an imminent American troop surge in Afghanistan, held talks with the Pakistani government about the insurgency. "The operation is going on in Mohmand. The forces have secured a large area in the troubled district and militant strongholds have been destroyed," the paramilitary official told AFP on condition of anonymity. Another security official said the militants suffered losses in attacks by "war planes, helicopter gunships and use of artillery and shelling by tanks". "We have confirmation that commander Anwar Sayed and commander Shakirullah were killed in the operation today," said the second security official. Their bases were also destroyed, the official added. He also said that troops demolished or torched at least 27 houses belonging to tribesmen who offered shelter to the militants. Five civilians were wounded in the shelling, he added. None of the statistics given out by the security officials could be confirmed through independent sources. Tuesday's military operation came 10 days after a major gunbattle in the same region where hundreds of foreign militants attacked forces, sparking clashes that left six soldiers and 40 militants dead, officials said. That was the biggest recent assault against security forces, who are battling to flush out militants in parts of the restive northwest. Nationwide, a wave of attacks carried out by extremists across Pakistan have killed more than 1,500 people in the past 17 months. Officials charged that most of the insurgents infiltrated the border from Afghanistan and were backed up by local Taliban fighters. There were no immediate reports of military casualties on Tuesday.