Pakistani security forces backed by helicopter gunships blasted Taliban hide-outs near the Afghan border killing 15 militants and wounding nine others.

Using heavy artillery guns, security forces, pounded Taliban positions in three places in Aurakzai Agency and eleven militants were killed in the barrage, official sources said.

Four more militants were killed and nine injured when gunships clobbered Taliban positions in Story Khel and Sultanzai areas. Five militant hideouts were also destroyed in the air strikes.

The casualty figures could not be independently verified as journalists are barred from reporting from the conflict zone.

The official sources also said the militants were on the run and the security forces had captured the Shantana area from the Taliban.

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