- - Sunday, December 4, 2011

IRAN

Iran says it shot down U.S. surveillance drone

TEHRAN — Iran’s armed forces have shot down an unmanned U.S. spy plane that violated Iranian airspace along the country’s eastern border, the official IRNA news agency reported Sunday.

An unidentified military official quoted in the report warned of a strong and crushing response to any violations of the country’s airspace by American drone aircraft.

“An advanced RQ170 unmanned American spy plane was shot down by Iran’s armed forces. It suffered minor damage and is now in possession of Iran’s armed forces,” IRNA quoted the official as saying.

No further details were published.

Iran is locked in a dispute with the U.S. and its allies over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program, which the West believes is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran denies the accusations, saying its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.

AFGHANISTAN

Security conference set to start Monday

BERLIN — A global conference in Germany to discuss Afghanistan’s future beyond 2014 comes as the country faces political instability, an enduring Taliban-led insurgency and possible financial collapse following the planned drawdown of international troops and foreign aid.

About 100 countries and international organizations will be represented at the Monday gathering, with some 60 foreign ministers in attendance, among them Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But one of the most important countries for Afghanistan’s future, its eastern nuclear-armed neighbor Pakistan, said it will boycott the conference to protest last month’s NATO air assault carried out from Afghan territory that killed 25 Pakistani soldiers.

Pakistan is seen as crucial player in the region because of its links and influence on insurgent groups that are battling Afghan government and foreign troops and that sometimes use Pakistan as a base for their operations.

The Bonn conference is expected to address the transfer of security responsibility from international forces to Afghan security forces over the next three years, long-term prospects for international aid and a possible political settlement with the Taliban.

SYRIA

Story Continues →