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Missing Military Personnel

Volume 455: debated on Monday 8 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK military personnel have been classified as (a) missing in action and (b) missing presumed dead in (i) Iraq and (ii) Afghanistan since the start of military operations in those countries; and whether these figures are included in casualty reporting. (105714)

Missing in action and missing presumed dead are not terms that are used by the MOD. The closest corresponding terms are ‘missing not known (MNK)’ and ‘missing believed killed (MBK)’, as laid out in Joint Casualty and Compassionate Policy and Procedures (Joint Service Publication 751), a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.

Centrally held data shows that since January 2001 the following numbers of personnel were initially classified as MBK or MNK:

Iraq

Afghanistan

Missing not known (MNK)

0

0

Missing believed killed (MBK)

15

15

There are no personnel currently classified as MNK or MBK. All those initially listed as MBK have subsequently been re-categorised as Killed in Action (KIA) or Died on Operations (DOP) as their identity has been confirmed. These are included in the fatality data published on the MOD website:

http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/FactSheets/OperationsFactsheets

The step to subsequently re-categorise individuals as KIA or DOP is necessary, particularly after such incidents as aircraft crashes, as it may be some time before the identity of those involved can be verified. In the interim period they are categorised as MBK.