Pakistani army officials announced 15 Taliban fighters were killed after army jets bombed the Shawal Valley in the country’s mountainous North Waziristan in the early hours of Friday, Taliban claims casualties were all civilians.
Reuters reported Pakistani security forces are preparing for an offensive to the Taliban to try to push them from North Waziristan, a stronghold area for the group which is controlled by Khan "Sajna" Said, whose name was added to the US "specially designated global terrorists" last year.
A government official said the army’s far-reaching operation against the Taliban fighters in the area is carried out carefully in order to minimise casualties.
"It is a massive military action against the Taliban militants and their allies in the Shawal mountains," said the government official who asked for anonymity.
The statement by Taliban, which claims the 15 were all civilians, could not be verified immediately since the fighting is in areas sealed off to journalists.
"Jets bombed the houses of innocent people, none of our men or mujahids were killed in these air strikes," said Taliban spokesman.
According to Reuters, Pakistani government had requested help from Afghanistan to cordon off the area to prevent Taliban fighters from fleeing over the border.
The Pakistani Taliban is allied with the Afghan Taliban, a situation which forces Afghan and Pakistani governments to take cooperative actions against the groups, as NATO forces have urged them repeatedly.
Such cooperation would be a significant move in order to strengthen the relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, a process which began when Afghan President Ashraf Ghani took office last year.
Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met this week in Kabul and they pledged to deepen cooperation on security issues, especially against the Taliban threat.