A militant commander who sheltered Al-Qaeda fighters was killed on Thursday by a roadside bomb along with four associates in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt, security officials said.

Ghulam Jan Wazir died on the spot when his vehicle hit the bomb in the Sholam area, five kilometres (three miles) west of Wana, the main town in South Waziristan district on the Afghan border.

A senior security official told AFP that Wazir had for several years sheltered Arab and Central Asian fighters in South Waziristan.

"He was anti-government and well known for his support to foreigners," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Local residents also said Wazir had a reputation for harbouring Uzbek, Tajik and Central Asian militants in the past.

He was among a group of fighters forced to leave South Waziristan when Maulvi Nazir, a prominent warlord allied to the government, launched an armed campaign in 2007 against foreign fighters.

Wazir returned to South Waziristan last year after reaching a deal with the Nazir group, before Nazir was killed in a US drone strike in January.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wazir's death. He is the third pro Al-Qaeda militant commander killed in similar circumstances in South Waziristan in the last two years.