Pakistan’s military said it has killed at least 80 Islamist militants and lost seven soldiers in fierce fighting near the mountainous Afghan border. The clashes have been taking place in the remote Tirah Valley in the insurgency-plagued northwestern Khyber tribal district. Army spokesman Major General Asim Bajwa reported “steady progress” in the counter-terrorism operation with the code name Khyber-II, saying it is aimed at clearing areas close to Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. “In Khyber, terrorists being dislodged from bases fleeing to border. So far, 80 terrorists killed, approximately 100 injured in this phase,” Bajwa said in a Twitter post. The militants, officials said, belonged to the outlawed Pakistani Taliban, an alliance of extremist outfits waging an insurgency against the state. Army jets have also pounded suspected militant positions in the areas over the past two days. A spokesman for the group claimed the army death toll is much higher. Independent confirmation of the fighting details is not possible because journalists and aid groups have no access to the conflict zone.