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Iran crash drone 'on CIA mission'

A drone that crashed inside Iran was one of a fleet of stealth aircraft that have spied on Iran for years from an American air base in Afghanistan, US sources said.

They say the CIA stealth-version of the RQ-170 unmanned craft, which crashed at the weekend, was also used to survey Osama bin Laden's compound before the raid in Pakistan in May.

According to these officials, the US has built up the air base Shindad, Afghanistan, with an eye to keeping a long-term presence there to launch surveillance missions and even special operations missions into Iran if deemed necessary.

The officials, who spoke anonymously to discuss classified information, say that while no specific mission into Iran has been authorised, the military has contingency plans for such clandestine missions.

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