Seven Pakistani soldiers and 19 Taliban fighters have been killed in fighting in North Waziristan near Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, Pakistan's military has confirmed.

A military source told Al Jazeera that the soldiers were killed when one of the Taliban fighters exploded a suicide vest during clashes on Sunday night.

The 19 dead Taliban members included five of the group's local commanders, the source said. 

The Pakistani military launched a ground offensive against rebel strongholds near the Afghan border about a year ago after evacuating nearly half a million people from the tribal region.

The extent of casualties in the offensive is unclear. North Waziristan has been completely sealed since the operation started and there is no way to verify the military's death tolls.

Source: Al Jazeera