Quetta Shura

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

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.[1] 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.[1][2] 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).[3] Pakistan agreed to repatriate them to Afghanistan if not found to have committed crimes in Pakistan.[4]

Accusations by Coalition Forces[edit]

Directing the insurgency in Afghanistan[edit]

Main article: Taliban insurgency

The Quetta Shura is directing the insurgency,[1] 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.[5]

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."[6]

Funding from Persian Gulf region[edit]

The Taliban leaders raise money from wealthy Persian gulf donors and direct operations in south Afghanistan.[7] 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."[7]

Support from Pakistani intelligence[edit]

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.[8] 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.[5]

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.[9][10][11] A spokesman for the Pakistani military dismissed the report, describing it as "malicious".[12][13][14]

Pakistani response[edit]

Denials[edit]

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.[7][15] Pakistani authorities have denied the existence of such an organization in Pakistan.[16] However statements by US officials have led to fears that US would launch Drone strikes on Quetta.[17] 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.[17]

Acknowledgement[edit]

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.[18]

On November 23, 2012, when Pakistan released nine senior Taliban leaders, commentator Ali K. Chrishti described a statement from the Pakistani government as its first acknowledgment of the existence of the Quetta Shura.[19]

Action[edit]

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.[20] He had reportedly gone to Karachi to meet other Shura leaders who had moved to this city in recent months.[21] 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.[22] They will be handed over to Kabul if they have not committed crimes in Pakistan.[4]

Motivation[edit]

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.[3][23] However according to The News International, the Pakistani establishment, in a major policy shift, had decided not to support the Shura and had arrested 9 of the 18 key members within a period of 2 weeks. The policy shift was made after pressure from the US as well as a request from the Saudi Royal family[24]

Coalition efforts at negotiations[edit]

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.'[25]

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.[26][27] 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.[28] Taliban sources denied that there had been such a meeting and dismissed them as baseless rumors.[29][30][31][32][33]

Leaders[edit]

The Taliban's Quetta Shura is the main leadership among Afghanistan's Taliban.[34]

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.

name notes
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar
  • Reported captured on February 11, 2010.[34]
  • Reported to have reorganized the Afghan Taliban's military wing.[34]
Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir
  • Previously held in Guantanamo under the name Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul.[35]
  • Reported captured in late February 2010.[34]
  • Reported to remain at large, and be a candidate to replace Abdul Ghani Baradar.[35]
Mullah Abdul Rauf
  • Reported captured in late February 2010.[34]
  • Reported to have been a "former chief operational commander of the Taliban in northeastern Afghanistan".[34]
  • Also reported to be a former Guantanamo captive who was just 20 years old when initially captured.[35]
Mullah Mir Muhammad
Mullah Abdul Salam
  • Reported to be the Taliban's "shadow governor of Kunduz province".[34]
  • Reported captured in late January 2010.[34]
Maulvi Abdul Kabir
Mullah Muhammad Hassan
  • Reported to have been "a former foreign minister in the Taliban regime".[34]
  • Reported captured in late February 2010.[34]
Mullah Ahmad Jan Akhundzada
  • Reported to have been a "former governor of Zabul province".[34]
  • Reported captured in late February 2010.[34]
Mullah Muhammad Younis
  • Reported to be an explosives expert who had served as a police chief in Kabul during the Taliban rule".[34]
  • Reported captured in late February 2010.[34]
Mullah Hassan Rehmani
Hafiz Abdul Majeed
Amir Khan Muttaqi
  • Reported to be a "former minister in Taliban regime".[34]
Agha Jan Mutasim
  • Reported to be "the Taliban’s head of political affairs".[34]
Mullah Abdul Jalil
  • Reported to be the "head of the Taliban’s shadowy interior ministry".[34]
Sirajuddin Haqqani
Mullah Abdul Latif Mansoor
Mullah Abdur Razaq Akhundzada
  • Reported to be the former corps commander for northern Afghanistan.[34]
Abdullah Mutmain
  • Reported to be "a former minister during the Taliban regime who currently looks after the financial affairs of the extremist militia".[34]
Agha Jan Motasim
  • Former Taliban Finance Minister.[36][37][38]
  • Formerly chair of the political committee, stripped of this position in 2009 following rumors of corruption—may have been forced from the Shura at this time.[36][37][38]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Quetta Shura Taliban: An Overlooked Problem, International Affairs Review, 2009-11-23
  2. ^ Going the Distance, The Washington Post, 2009-02-15
  3. ^ a b Besides Mullah Baradar, several Taliban shadow governors and other senior leaders have been arrested inside Pakistan in recent weeks. Mark Mazzetti and Jane Perlez (24 Feb 2010). "CIA and Pakistan work together, but do so warily". New York Times. 
  4. ^ a b Baradar is being investigated for crimes in Pakistan before being extradited. Karin Brulliard (25 Feb 2010). "Pakistan to hand over Taliban No. 2, says Afghanistan". Washington Post. 
  5. ^ a b Strategic Balochistan becomes a target in war against Taliban, The Guardian, 2009-12-21
  6. ^ Patterson says Quetta Shura high on US list, Dawn (newspaper), 2009-09-30
  7. ^ a b c Taliban Haven in Pakistani City Raises Fears, The New York Times, 2009-02-09
  8. ^ Taliban Widen Afghan Attacks From Base in Pakistan, The New York Times, 2009-09-24
  9. ^ "Pakistan's ISI intelligence agency 'supports' Taliban"
  10. ^ "Pakistan puppet masters guide the Taliban killers"
  11. ^ "Report slams Pakistan for meddling in Afghanistan"
  12. ^ "New report on Pakistan connections with Taliban dismissed by military"
  13. ^ "Pakistan Denies Supporting Taliban"
  14. ^ "Pakistan's intelligence agency said to support Taliban"
  15. ^ Quetta Cantonment, GlobalSecurity.org
  16. ^ The Afghan-Pakistan militant nexus, BBC, 2009-12-01
  17. ^ a b Fear grows of US strikes in Balochistan, Dawn (newspaper), 2009-10-12
  18. ^ Quetta shura no longer poses threat: Ahmad Mukhtar, Dawn (newspaper), 2009-12-11
  19. ^ Ali K. Chishti (2012-11-24). "Change of heart?". The Friday Times. Archived from the original on 2012-11-28. Retrieved 2012-11-28. "Pakistan acknowledged the existence of a Quetta Shura in a statement by Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar after repeated denials in December 2009." 
  20. ^ Secret Joint Raid Captures Taliban’s Top Commander, The New York Times, 2010-02-15
  21. ^ Profile: Mullah Baradar - father of the roadside IED, The Times, 2010-02-16
  22. ^ Pakistani Reports Capture of Taliban Leader, The New York Times, 2010-02-22
  23. ^ "There has been a change in Pakistan's attitude," said Pakistani author Ahmed Rashid. "Pakistan now wants to dominate any kind of dialogue that takes place." Lyse Doucet (19 Feb 2010). "Pakistan's push for new role in Afghanistan". BBC News. 
  24. ^ Pakistan wipes out half of Quetta Shura, The News International, 2010-03-01
  25. ^ .Afghanistan summit to plan for withdrawal, The Guardian, 29 November 2009
  26. ^ UN in secret peace talks with Taliban, The Guardian, 28 January 2010
  27. ^ "U.N. Mission Head in Afghanistan Met With Taliban Envoys ", The New York Times, 29 January 2010
  28. ^ "UN ups ante with secret Taliban talks"
  29. ^ "Afghan Taliban Deny Meeting with UN"
  30. ^ "Afghan Taliban deny meeting U.N. envoy"
  31. ^ "Afghan Taliban deny peace talks with UN's Kai Eide"
  32. ^ "Afghan Taliban deny meeting with UN"
  33. ^ "Taliban maintains hard-line stance, denies U.N. meeting|
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Amir Mir (2010-03-01). "Pakistan wipes out half of Quetta Shura". The News International. Archived from the original on 2010-03-04. "According to well-informed diplomatic circles in Islamabad, the decision-makers in the powerful Pakistani establishment seem to have concluded in view of the ever-growing nexus between the Pakistani and the Afghan Taliban that they are now one and the same and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Quetta Shura Taliban (QST) could no more be treated as two separate Jihadi entities." 
  35. ^ a b c Kathy Gannon (2010-03-04). "Former Gitmo detainee said running Afghan battles". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2010-03-04. "Abdul Qayyum is also seen as a leading candidate to be the next No. 2 in the Afghan Taliban hierarchy, said the officials, interviewed last week by The Associated Press." 
  36. ^ a b Kathy Gannon (2012-05-18). "Moderate Taliban member speaks of rifts within movement". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2012-05-20. "One of the most powerful men on the Taliban council, Agha Jan Motasim, nearly lost his life in a hail of bullets for advocating a negotiated settlement that would bring a broad-based government to his beleaguered homeland of Afghanistan." 
  37. ^ a b Sam Yousafzai, Ron Moreau (2012-04-25). "Afghanistan: A Moderate Defies the Taliban". Daily Beast. Retrieved 2012-05-20. "Not so long ago, Agha Jan Motasim was one of the most important men in the Afghan Taliban. That was before he was sacked as head of the ruling Quetta Shura’s political committee—and before the day last August when someone pumped him full of bullets and left him for dead on a street in Karachi." mirror
  38. ^ a b "Afghan biographies: Jan, Motasim Agha". Afghan biographies. 2012-05-16. Retrieved 2012-05-20.  mirror