Published: Jun 09, 2010 11:28 AM EDT
Updated: Jun 09, 2010 8:30 AM EDT

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - The U.S. military say the four NATO

troops killed when a helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan were

Americans.

NATO said earlier that hostile fire brought down the helicopter

Wednesday in southern Helmand province, where the Taliban have a

strong presence. The militant group claimed responsibility for the

downing.

U.S. military spokesman in Kabul, Lt. Col. Joseph T. Breasseale,

later confirmed the four NATO troops killed were Americans.

Both U.S. and British troops are operating in Helmand, part of a

band of provinces across southern Afghanistan that are the

Taliban's heartland.