US Commander: Afghan Taliban Leadership All in Quetta, Peshawar

Says Pakistan 'Support for Terrorists' Must Stop

US commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson is elaborating on US allegations that Pakistan is deliberately providing “safe havens” for the Afghan Taliban leadership, with his new comments claiming that the leadership are all based in Quetta and Peshawar.

“The Quetta Shura, Peshawar Shura, these shuras are identified by Pakistani cities, so we know Afghan Taliban leaders are in those areas,” Nicholson insisted. He went on to say that Pakistani “support for terrorists” has to stop.

The Quetta Shura has been long discussed as a body of religious leaders linked with the Afghan Taliban, and responsible for choosing successors when the group’s leader ties. The Peshawar Shura is seldom mentioned, and its role is unclear.

Either way, it is incorrect to say that the Taliban’s true leadership is entirely in Pakistan, as the group’s real leadership is its militant commanders, who are almost exclusively on the ground inside Afghanistan. To the extent there are still political leaders in the Afghan Taliban, they tend to be centered around the southern Afghan city of Kandahar.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.