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How Qatar is planning to ensure security at World Cup 2022

Qatar security forces, along with partners from 13 countries, have carried out a five-day security exercise across the country.

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
More than 1.2 million fans are expected to visit Qatar during the competition which runs from November 20 to December 18. [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Qatar is expected to deploy tens of thousands of security forces to ensure a seamless World Cup.

The host country has signed numerous security cooperation deals with several countries. More than 1.2 million fans are expected to visit Qatar during the competition which runs from November 20 to December 18.

Qatar security forces, along with partners from 13 countries, have carried out a five-day security exercise across the country. The drills were aimed at testing the readiness and responsiveness of the emergency services, local daily The Peninsula reported.

According to the tournament’s security committee, the exercises, dubbed Watan (which translates to nation in Arabic), involved 32,000 government security personnel and 17,000 from the private security sector.

Which countries are helping out?

Turkey previously announced it will send more than 3,000 riot police officers to help secure stadiums and hotels. Turkey will also send 100 special operations police officers, 50 bomb specialists and 80 sniffer dogs, it said.

Turkish interior minister Suleyman Soylu said in January that Turkey has also trained 677 Qatari security personnel in 38 different professional areas, without elaborating on the specifics.

In August, Pakistan agreed to send troops to Qatar to provide security during the tournament. The troops landed in Doha earlier this month, according to Radio Pakistan, the state broadcaster.

Also that month, the French parliament approved the deployment of about 220 security personnel to the Gulf state for the tournament. The deployment will ensure the security of fans, including French nationals, the French interior ministry said.

Qatar has also inked a security cooperation agreement with Morocco, the Qatar News Agency reported last month. Last year, Moroccan news outlets reported that Rabat will deploy cybersecurity experts to Qatar during the tournament.

In May, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence said it will support Doha delivering a “safe” and “secure” World Cup.

The ministry said it will back Qatar with military capabilities to counter “terrorism” and other threats to the football games. The support will include maritime security support from the Royal Navy, advanced venue search training, operational planning and command and control support, and further specialist advice, the ministry said.

Qatar also has an agreement in place with the United States Department of Defense to cooperate on “technical arrangements” during the tournament.

“The technical arrangements aim to identify and put in place the responsibilities related to cooperation between the two sides, and the US armed forces’ contribution to providing support the FIFA 2022 World Cup event,” Qatar’s defence ministry said in a statement earlier this month.

The United Arab Emirates-based The National reported earlier this year that former Jordanian soldiers were also being offered roles at the World Cup.

As the World Cup approaches, increased security-related activities are being witnessed on the streets of Qatar. A central command centre has been set up to monitor security camera footage from all eight World Cup stadiums.

Source: Al Jazeera