Pakistani forces have killed four suspected militants during a shoot-out in the country's semi-autonomous tribal region near the Afghan border.

Military officials say the fighting in the restive South Waziristan district began late Sunday and lasted until early Monday. Five government soldiers were also wounded in the exchange of fire.

Security forces recovered the bodies of two dead insurgents while the militants were seen dragging away the remaining two.

South Waziristan is considered a possible hideout for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. The army believes some 600 to 700 militants are still in the region despite repeated efforts to flush them out.