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Departmental Languages

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 8 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many members of staff in his Department (a) speak Pashtun and (b) are training to speak Pashtun. (176085)

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff records list 27 current staff who hold, or have held, a language qualification in Dari, Pashto or Farsi (the languages commonly spoken in Afghanistan and Iran).

11 FCO officials are currently studying either Pashto or Dari. The FCO is also seeking to recruit Pashto speakers as part of a current campaign seeking external candidates with skills relevant to the FCO.