Sitting at 1,680 metres (5,500 feet) above sea level, Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, occupies a strategic position since the boundaries of Iran and Afghanistan meet here, and the Bolan Pass lies on important lines of communications. Located in a river valley, it is connected by rail with Lahore, (727 miles), with Peshawar (986 miles), and Karachi (536 miles). A new road connects it with Karachi through Khuzdar, Makran and Las Bela. It is also connected with Zahidan (Iran) by rail.
Quetta derives its name from the Balochi “Kuwatta”, which means a fort. The city is surrounded by imposing hills like Chiltan, Takatoo, Murdar and Zarghun. It lies 1692 meters above sea level at the mouth of Bolan Pass. The inhabitants are mainly Pathans, Baluch and Brahvis, therefore Pushto, Balochi, Brahvi and Urdu languages are widely spoken. It is famous for its honey sweet apples and many other verities of fruit. Quetta abounds in various varieties of apples and grapes. The orchards clutter the entire suburbs of Quetta and other important towns. For the abundance of fruit, Quetta is rightly called as the Fruit Basket of Pakistan.
Quetta has always been a military station and even after the partition it is because of many military establishments that its business and life thrives. Owing to its location close to Afghanistan, where the British interest lied, the British Army established the Army Staff College, which is still located here, though with a new name and building. Even otherwise Quetta is an important military station because of its vital and strategic position on account of the fact that the boundaries of Iran and Afghanistan meet here, and the Bolan Pass lies on important lines of communications. Quetta is also the site of an airbase used by the United States Air Force during the Cold War. Field Marshal Montgomery of the British Army – the Al-Alamin famed, was on the faculty of the Command and Staff College. The house once occupied by the Field Marshal has been converted in a museum, which is located at the very main gate of the college.