Who is QST?
ISW’s Jeffrey Dressler and Carl Forsberg have jointly produced a new report in the Afghanistan Project series which analyzes the Quetta Shura Taliban’s (QST) organization, operations, and shadow government lead by Mullah Omar. (Download your copy of the report on our website). As additional Marines and soldiers arrive in Helmand and Kandahar provinces in 2010, this report on QST is a must-read for understanding the complex insurgency facing the U.S. Military.
This report explains that the simplistic view of the Taliban as a group of rag-tag fighters is inaccurate; they see themselves as Afghanistan’s only legitimate government. As such, QST has established a sophisticated shadow government in the southern Afghanistan provinces and evidence suggests around Kabul as well.
Many have underestimated the Taliban’s operational capabilities and symbolic importance. Mullah Omar is still understood to be the “Amir-ul-Momineen” or Leader of the Faithful while Mullah Barader handles day-to-day operations against US, Afghan and NATO forces. Jeff and Carl’s new report makes it clear that Mullah Omar wants to once again rise to prominence in Kabul.
Communications Director, ISW