Afghan officials say a mass grave discovered in eastern Afghanistan is thought to contain the bodies of more than 500 soldiers of the communist regime that was toppled in 1992.

Interior Ministry spokesman Yousuf Stanizai says the grave was discovered in Paktika and a team has been sent there to investigate.

He said there are reports that more than 500 bodies are in the grave.

Officials believe they were defeated soldiers of Soviet-backed President Najibullah, who were killed after they surrendered to the mujahedin fighters. Mr. Najibullah was executed later by the Taleban in 1996.

If proven true, it would be the first mass grave found in Afghanistan containing communist soldiers. Other graves have been found with the bodies of thousands of anti-communist mujahedin fighters.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.