Interpreters for British die in action

Twenty-one Afghan interpreters working with British forces have been killed and more than 90 injured over the past five years, official figures show.

So far this year alone, three have died and 19 been wounded in the course of their duties, although their deaths are generally not announced by the Ministry of Defence.

Interpreters face the same risks of improvised explosive devices and insurgent ambushes as the troops they translate for when they go out on patrols in some of the deadliest parts of Helmand province.

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Many have received death threats from the Taliban and fear for the future once Nato forces pull out of Afghanistan.

But there are no plans to introduce a scheme to allow them to settle in Britain, along the lines of a now-closed programme for Iraqis who were employed by the UK Government for a year or more.

British forces in Afghanistan employed 650 local interpreters in mid-July, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in response to a Freedom of Information request.

The deadliest year for Afghan interpreters working with UK troops was 2009 (when seven were killed and 23 injured), followed by 2010 (four killed and 33 injured), 2007 (four killed and 14 injured), 2011 to date (three killed and 19 injured), 2008 (two killed and three injured) and 2006 (one killed and none injured).

The MoD was not able to provide figures for the number of interpreters killed in Iraq.