KABUL, Afghanistan -- Four US soldiers died when their vehicle struck a land mine in central Afghanistan yesterday, the military said. It was unclear whether the mine was freshly laid or a leftover from the country's long wars.
The soldiers were among a group of American and Afghan officials examining a potential site for a shooting range in Logar Province, 25 miles south of Kabul, when one of their three vehicles hit the mine, spokeswoman Lieutenant Cindy Moore said.
The bodies of the four dead, none of whom was identified, were airlifted to the main US base at Bagram, Moore said. No one else was reported hurt.
Moore said investigators suspected the mine was an old charge dislodged by recent rain and snow or that the vehicle had wandered into an unmapped minefield.
Moore said US troops first toured an area near the scene of yesterday's incident about a week earlier searching for a site for a training range for the American-trained Afghan army.
''We believe it was an old mine which could have shifted," she said.
However, Mullah Hakim Latifi, a man who claims to speak for the Taliban, said its fighters detonated the mine by remote control.
''We've said again and again that we would resume our holy war in the spring," Latifi told the AP by satellite telephone from an undisclosed location.