US Army Bans Masks For Iraqi Interpreters, Putting Many At Risk

12/18/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Ernesto LondoñO Washington Post

BAGHDAD -- The U.S. military has barred Iraqi interpreters working with American troops in Baghdad from wearing ski masks to disguise themselves, prompting some to resign and others to bare their faces even though they fear it could get them killed.

Many interpreters employed by the U.S. government and Western companies in Iraq do everything they can to avoid being recognized on the job because extremists have tortured and killed Iraqis accused of collaborating with the enemy.

"The terps are the number one wanted here," said A.J., a 36-year-old military interpreter, using the shorthand for his profession. "More than the Americans. More than anyone."

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