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Armed Forces: Languages

Volume 718: debated on Tuesday 6 April 2010

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase the number of Dari Persian speakers deployed to Afghanistan serving in Her Majesty's Armed Forces. [HL2997]

The military requirement for deployed Dari speakers is evolving and is under constant review, with Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) and the Defence Operational Languages Support Unit (DOLSU) working closely together to define all aspects of the language requirements.

The increased requirement is being met through language training at all levels as appropriate, and the use of previously trained personnel. Language training opportunities are widely advertised through defence internal communications channels and generate significant interest. Selection panels are held to select the strongest candidates for long language training.

As Dari is a mandated operational language, military Dari linguists with tested and current language skills are entitled to payments under the Defence Operational Languages Award Scheme (DOLAS) which has been put in place to encourage military personnel to gain, actively use and maintain language skills.