WORLD IN BRIEF: 6 western troops killed

6 western troops killed in Afghanistan

KABUL -- Six NATO service members, including three Americans, were killed in Afghanistan on Monday -- the deadliest day for the international force in more than two months, underscoring fears that casualties will rise as more foreign troops stream into the country.

Nevertheless, a new poll says Afghans are more optimistic than a year ago and think the Taliban are losing momentum. The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said he thought the rising presence of international forces was blunting the militants. Gen. Stanley McChrystal said the international force is on its way to convincing the Afghan people that it was there to protect them.

Yemeni radical cleric warns of occupation

SAN'A, Yemen -- Yemen's most influential Islamic cleric, considered an al-Qaida-linked terrorist by the United States, warned Monday that the U.S.-backed fight against the terror group could lead to ''foreign occupation'' of the country.

Sheik Abdul-Majid al-Zindani's comments illustrate the pressure Yemen's government is under to limit the U.S. role here even as Washington ramps up counterterrorism aid and training to help combat al-Qaida's offshoot in the country.

Al-Zindani is emblematic of how -- unlike in Iraq and Afghanistan, whose governments are bitter enemies of al-Qaida -- Yemen's beleaguered regime has built alliances with Islamic extremists to hold onto power. Some have al-Qaida connections, complicating the fight.

Officials: Meeting on Iran being planned

VIENNA -- The United States and five other countries have tentatively agreed to meet this weekend to discuss what to do about Iran's nuclear defiance of the U.N. Security Council, officials told The Associated Press on Monday.

The meeting would bring together political directors -- who report directly to their foreign ministers -- from the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. Officials from two of those countries said the meeting would likely be held in New York City on Saturday. The officials offered no details on the discussions, but the U.S. and its Western allies are expected to push for a fourth set of sanctions to punish Tehran for defying Security Council demands that it mothball its uranium enrichment program.