Officials in northwest Pakistan say the military has launched air strikes on militant hideouts, killing at least 18 suspected insurgents in the latest of such operations.

Authorities say the strikes Sunday in the Tirah valley area of the restive Khyber tribal region destroyed a bomb-making factory and a cache of explosive material.

On Saturday, Pakistani military gunship helicopters carried out a strike against a militant hideout, killing nine suspected insurgents in Thal in the Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Pakistani fighter jets bombed militant hideouts Wednesday in the North Waziristan tribal region, killing 15 suspected insurgents.

One government official said a cache of weapons and ammunition was seized during the attack.

Also last week, a Taliban faction claimed it had killed 23 kidnapped Pakistani soldiers.

After that report, peace talks between representatives of the Taliban and Pakistani officials stalled. Government officials say a cease-fire must be in place before talks can resume.