A Pakistani general says troops have defeated Taliban militants in a key border area which insurgents have used as a gateway into Afghanistan.

Major General Tariq Khan says the Bajaur district in northwest Pakistan is now under military control.

Kahn told reporters during a helicopter tour of the area Saturday that insurgents had  "lost" their battle to keep control of the strategically important district.

The general, who is overseeing the military operations, also predicted the mission against extremists in the semi-autonomous region will be completed by the end of the year.  The region includes seven tribal districts.

Pakistan's military claims to have killed at least 1,500 Taliban fighters in their battle for the Bajaur district.

General Khan said he has rejected cease-fire deals with Taliban extremists in the tribal region.  The Pakistani government reached a controversial deal with militants in neighboring Swat Valley.  The agreement allows the Taliban to impose strict Islamic law, or Sharia, in Swat Valley.  Swat militants have agreed to stop their two-year insurgency.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.