Pakistani army operations have so far failed to break the back of armed groups like Pakistani Taliban [EPA]

Pakistani warplanes have attacked Taliban positions in the northwestern Orakzai tribal region, killing 16 fighters, a senior regional government official has said.

Tuesday's strike came a day after a local newspaper reported that Pakistan would launch an offensive in North Waziristan, a known sanctuary for al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters on the Afghan border.

Orakzai is one of the tribal regions along the Afghan border where the Pakistani army has tried to root out armed groups with offensives against their strongholds.

"We had information that militants gathered there and were planning attacks so we launched the attack," Zaman Khan, a senior government official, told Reuters in Kalaya, the main town of Orakzai.

He said six fighters were also wounded in the strike.

Pakistan's performance in fighting armed groups has come under scrutiny after it was discovered that al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden had been living in the country.

Army operations have failed to break the back of armed groups such as the Pakistani Taliban, who have stepped up suicide bombings since US special forces killed bin Laden near Islamabad on May 2.

After the bin Laden raid, the United States told Pakistan it needed to step up the fight against armed groups.

Source: Agencies