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World Cup 2022: Pakistan sends thousands of soldiers to help Qatar with security

Pakistan is the only country to deploy foot soldiers, with 4,500 infantry troops arriving in Qatar
People walk near a banner of the Qatar 2022 mascot La'eeb at a beach in Doha, 10 November 2022 (AFP)

Pakistan has sent 4,500 soldiers to Qatar to help provide security for the World Cup, which is set to kick off next week.

Qatar has sought the help of security forces and police agencies from various countries, including France, Jordan, Turkey, Britain and the US, to ensure the safety of an estimated 1.2 million fans expected to attend the World Cup, which starts on 20 November.

However, Pakistan is the only country to send foot soldiers to Doha, with 4,500 infantry troops arriving in Qatar in recent weeks.

A senior Pakistani army officer told The Telegraph that the troops would be deployed "on security duties inside and outside venues in the way deemed fit by the Qatar authorities".

The armed troops will guard football teams at hotels, marking the first significant occasion in which Islamabad's forces were sent abroad to provide security services for an international event.

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Following a Qatari investment of $2bn, Pakistan announced in August that it would send troops to Qatar to help secure the World Cup.

A security team from Fifa had trained the Pakistani soldiers before they travelled to Qatar.

"[The Fifa team] shared the information about the exit and entry to the stadium, security of football teams, and other security aspects of the global event," a Pakistani official told The Telegraph.

After it won the bid in 2010 to host the World Cup, Qatar introduced mandatory military service in 2014, asking men between 18 and 35 to spend four months in the armed forces.

In September, it called up hundreds of civilians, including diplomats summoned back from overseas, for mandatory military service and to operate security checkpoints.

However, Qatar's army and police forces were short in numbers, and the country had to seek help from countries whose security agencies have experience managing stadium security queues and fans and detecting alcohol, drugs or weapons.

Turkey will send 3,000 riot police officers, while Britain is sending Royal Navy and Royal Air Force to help secure the sea and sky during the World Cup.

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