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No new information was released Tuesday about the four U.S. servicemembers killed in Monday’s roadside bomb attack, but a purported Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the act.

The four servicemembers were killed near Deh Rawod, Afghanistan, when their up-armored Humvee was hit by a powerful blast.

A firefight erupted after the explosion, with U.S. air support — both planes and helicopters — called into action.

Late Monday, Mullah Mohammad Hassan Rahmani, the former Taliban governor of Kandahar province, called several news agencies and claimed Taliban fighters killed nine Americans in the attack.

It is common for purported Taliban officials to claim attacks after the fact; sometimes the details are correct, sometimes not.

U.S. forces have repeatedly expressed frustration at their enemy’s unwillingness to stand and fight.

Insurgent forces have become expert at ambushes and other attacks, then melting into the countryside.

Fighting in Afghanistan traditionally slows during the winter months, when ice and snow block many of the smuggling routes and mountain trails used by Taliban and other fighters.

There are some 18,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan, with about 3,000 scheduled to withdraw this year.

NATO forces, including those from the United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands, are to expand their missions to include the southern part of the country, which is most prone to violence.


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