The Quetta Shura is a militant organization composed of top leadership of the Afghan Taliban, that is believed to be based since about 2001 in the city of Quetta in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. The Shura was formed after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was toppled in late 2001 and the senior leadership including Mullah Mohammed Omar escaped into Pakistan. In February 2010, several of the key members of the Quetta Shura, who were dispersed in various cities and towns in Pakistan, were detained by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Pakistan agreed to repatriate them to Afghanistan if not found to have committed crimes in Pakistan.
Accusations by Coalition ForcesEdit
Directing the insurgency in AfghanistanEdit
- Main article: Taliban insurgency
The Quetta Shura is directing the insurgency, according to General Stanley A. McChrystal. In a report to President Obama in 2009, he stated that it posed the greatest threat to his troops. He said, "Afghanistan's insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan. The Quetta Shura conducts a formal campaign review each winter, after which Mullah Omar announces his guidance and intent for the following year." Americans want to extend the Drone strikes into Balochistan 
In September 2009 US ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson said, "In the past, we focussed on Al Qaeda because they were a threat to us. The Quetta Shura mattered less to us because we had no troops in the region, now our troops are there on the other side of the border, and the Quetta Shura is high on Washington’s list."
Funding from Persian Gulf regionEdit
The Taliban leaders raise money from wealthy Persian gulf donors and direct operations in south Afghanistan. According to Lt. Gen. David Barno, the retired former commander of American forces in Afghanistan "The Quetta Shura is extremely important, they are the intellectual and ideological underpinnings of the Taliban insurgency."
Support from Pakistani intelligenceEdit
American officials believe that the Quetta Shura gets support from parts of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), as some of its senior officials believe that leaders such as Mullah Omar would be valuable assets if the Taliban were to regain power after a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. According to Abdul Rahim Mandokhel, a Pakistani senator from Zhob in northern Balochistan. "The whole war in Afghanistan is being launched from here," he said. He accused Pakistan's intelligence agencies of carrying out a "double" policy. "One thing is clear: the area is being used for cross-border offences," he said.
A report by the London School of Economics (LSE) claimed to provide the most concrete evidence yet that the ISI is providing funding, training and sanctuary to the Taliban insurgency on a scale much larger than previously thought. The report's author Matt Waldman spoke to nine Taliban field commanders in Afghanistan and concluded that Pakistan's relationship with the insurgents ran far deeper than previously realised. Some of those interviewed suggested that the organization even attended meetings of the Taliban's supreme council, the Quetta Shura. A spokesman for the Pakistani military dismissed the report, describing it as "malicious".
American and western officials have long complained that Pakistan has ignored the presence of senior Taliban leadership in Quetta and done little to address this situation. Pakistani authorities have denied the existence of such an organization in Pakistan. However statements by US officials have led to fears that US would launch Drone strikes on Quetta. Jehan Zeb Jamaldini, senior vice president of Balochistan National Party was quoted as saying that Mullah Omar and his 2nd and 3rd tier leadership were around Quetta and would be targeted by the US.
In December 2009 Pakistani government for the first time acknowledged the existence of Quetta Shura. The Defence minister of Pakistan, Ahmad Mukhtar acknowledged the presence of Quetta Shura but stated that security forces had damaged it to such an extent that it no longer posed a threat.
Template:Update section In February 2010, in a possible change in Pakistani policy, several members of the Quetta Shura were detained at various locations in Pakistan. Top Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar who runs the Shura was captured in Karachi in a joint operation by Inter-Services Intelligence and Central Intelligence Agency. He had reportedly gone to Karachi to meet other Shura leaders who had moved to this city in recent months. A few days later two more members of the Quetta Shura, Mullah Abdul Kabir and Mullah Mohammed Yunis, the Taliban’s shadow governor of Zabul Province, were detained by Pakistani intelligence. They will be handed over to Kabul if they have not committed crimes in Pakistan.
Analysts are split on the question of why Pakistan has now moved against these key leaders. Many say that Pakistan has decided it wants to control any negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government. However according to The News International Pakistani establishment in a major policy shift had decided not to support the Shura and arrested 9 of the 18 key members within a period of 2 weeks. The policy shift was made after pressure from US as well as a request from Saudi Royal family
Coalition efforts at negotiationsEdit
In November 2009, it was reported that the British were pushing for talks between the Afghan government and the Shura. 'Major General Richard Barrons said negotiations with the senior echelons of the Afghan Taliban leadership council – the Quetta shura – were being looked at, alongside the reintegration of insurgency fighters into civilian life.In his first interview since arriving in Afghanistan to begin talks with "moderate" Taliban fighters, Barrons said British officials were backing extensive talks between Karzai's government and the Quetta shura, which is led by Mullah Omar and is responsible for directing much of the fighting against British forces in Helmand province.'
Early January 2010, some commanders from the Quetta Shura held secret exploratory talks with Kai Eide to discuss peace terms, as emerged end of that month during the International Conference on Afghanistan in London. The Shura had sought a meeting with the United Nations envoy, which took place in Dubai on January 8, 2010. This was the first such meeting between the UN and alleged senior members of the Taliban, suggesting that peace talks had revived since exploratory contacts between emissaries of the Kabul government and the Taliban in Saudi Arabia in 2009 broke down. It was not clear how significant a faction had showed up in Dubai or how serious they were. A western official confirmed that there were indications of splits in the Taliban over the prospect of a settlement. Supporters of former presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah predicted that negotiations could fail because the Karzai government was too weak, and other critics warned that trying to buy off insurgents created a "moral hazard" of rewarding combatants who had killed Western troops and local civilians. Taliban sources denied that there had been such a meeting and dismissed them as baseless rumors.
According to The News International, Pakistani security officials had previously regarded Afghanistan's Taliban, the Quetta Shura, and Tehrik-e-Taliban as three separate entities. They reported that Pakistani security officials had changed their policy in early 2010, and had decided to treat all three organizations as one organization, and to crack down on the Quetta Shura. The reported Nine of its eighteen leaders were captured in late February and early March 2010.