At least nine people have been killed in an airstrike from a suspected US drone in Pakistan's lawless tribal region along Afghan border, security officials say.

The attack was carried out in the Shawal area of North Waziristan, one of seven districts where al-Qaeda-linked Taliban militants are active.

An intelligence official said that the drone fired at least two missiles at a house that was allegedly used by the militants.

"Two rooms of the compound were completely destroyed, and at least nine people present inside at the time of the attack were killed," the official said on condition of anonymity.

Another security official said that there were reports that some foreigners were among those killed, but their nationality was not yet known.

The strike was 3 kilometres from the Afghan border in an area believed to be controlled by the militants Haqqani network and the local Hafiz Gul Bahadar group.

The death toll could not be verified through independent sources as the region is out of reach of free media and aid organisations.

The drone campaign has been a source of tension between Islamabad and Washington, as Pakistan believes that the attacks increase militancy.

The US has refused to halt such strikes, saying the pilotless aircraft have helped to kill several top militants.