Islamabad: Thirty-eight militants, including a top commander of Pakistani Taliban, were killed on Wednesday in air strikes and clashes with troops in the volatile tribal belt of northwest Pakistan.

The region has witnessed some of the worst fighting in months following a string of attacks by the Taliban.

Twenty militants were killed when fighter jets pounded rebel hideouts in different parts of Orakzai tribal region.

Eighteen more militants, including six foreign fighters, were killed in an exchange of fire with security forces in Jogi area of Kurram tribal region.

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan commander Mullah Moinuddin was among those killed in the air strikes in Orakzai Agency, reports said.

The fiercest fighting was reported from Jogi area of Kurram Agency, where the Taliban have targeted soldiers holding a strategic mountain. Troops took control of the mountain last week after flushing militants out of the area.

Fourteen soldiers and over 50 militants were killed till Tuesday in clashes in Jogi area. The air strikes were launched after the Taliban killed eight soldiers and injured 15 more on Tuesday.

Militants in the region are loyal to Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud. The militants use Jogi area to gain access to North Waziristan, which the US has described as a safe haven for Taliban and Al Qaeda elements.

The Pakistani army and air force have been conducting operations against the Taliban in Kurram Agency since the beginning of the year. Besides the activities of the Taliban, Kurram Agency has been affected by clashes between Shia and Sunni tribesmen over the past four years. Hundreds of people have died in the fighting between the rival tribesmen.

(Agencies)