Qatar national service conscripts set for World Cup duty: officials

Qatar has recalled some national service conscripts from their civilian jobs to boost stadium security during the World Cup, authorities said Tuesday.

With more than one million fans expected to visit during the 32-nation tournament, the Gulf state will be relying on foreign security forces as well as its own army and police for the massive operation.

Since 2014, all Qatari men aged between 18 and 35 have had to train for four months with the military. The emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, said in a recent interview that he was considering extending national service to women.

Conscripts in key jobs can delay their national service but some have been called in for World Cup duties.

“Qatar’s national service programme will continue as normal during the World Cup,” a government official said in a statement.

“Recruits completing their mandatory service will be supported by a small number of temporary recalls. This is standard practice and happens every year during major public events such as the national day celebrations,” the official added.

Conscripts were also used for security duties when Qatar held the world athletics championships in 2019 and the FIFA Arab Cup, a rehearsal for the World Cup, last year.

Security guards from private companies and thousands of World Cup volunteers have had special training alongside the conscripts on handling the huge crowds expected around the eight stadiums in the Doha region, a security official said.

Qatar has more than 50,000 soldiers and police, but is using thousands of private guards for stadium security while foreign countries are helping to police the streets.

Turkey has agreed to send 3,200 police during the World Cup and diplomats said Pakistan and Morocco are also expected to send forces.

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