Iraqi soldiers addicted to video game PUBG 'neglecting duties in the field'

Iraqi soldiers addicted to video game PUBG 'neglecting duties in the field'
The video game PUBG has become immensely popular in Iraq, where soldiers are slacking off from guard duties to play the game on their phones.
2 min read
19 February, 2019
Even the threat of imprisonment will not deter soldiers from playing the game [S3Studios/Getty]

Distracted Iraqi soldiers addicted to video games are neglecting their duties and causing concerns they may cause major security breaches, Iraqi army sources have told The New Arab Arabic service.

A high number of Iraqi Armed Forces personnel appear to have become addicted to playing multiplayer first-person-shooters like PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds), a South Korean-made game widely popular in the Middle East.

But in a country still battling remnants of jihadist groups and facing mounting threats from militias and organised crime, Iraqi army commanders are worried real enemies can slip through while soldiers are distracted with the virtual kind.

“Soldiers distracting themselves with games and social media on their phones - especially with the game PUBG - while they are on night guard duty or on their daily monitoring and control missions has caused many problems,” an army officer who asked not to be named told The New Arab.

The officer said many of his colleagues had banned soldiers from playing the game and even jailed some for failing to fulfil their duties - but even that punishment has not dissuaded soldiers from playing PUBG.

Some have requested that soldiers phones be confiscated when on the job.

In October, an Islamic authority in Sulaymaniyah in the Kurdistan region of Iraq issued a fatwa against the game.

"Islam rules that wasting time for no reason is haram," the fatwa proclaimed.

Elsewhere in Iraq, a teen reportedly killed himself because of the game in January.