The disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) process in Afghanistan, widely acknowledged as flawed, has contributed to fragmentation and insecurity within Afghanistan. Based upon discussions with more than 500 DDR programme beneficiaries, the article describes the manner in which the reintegration process increased former combatants’ and commanders’ vulnerability to remobilisation in support of or in opposition to the Taliban-led insurgency by weakening cohesion between combatants and their former commanders and by fostering ineffective and culturally inappropriate livelihoods. The author argues that the DDR process and other international and Afghan government interventions have, furthermore, contributed to the fragmentation of the country and the straining of internal, regional tensions. The Taliban, as well as those fighting under its banner, has been the primary beneficiary of this fragmentation and has consolidated a highly diverse coalition of fighters. The opposing trends of a fragmented social, economic and political context, in relation to both individual former combatants and the country as a whole, and an increasingly cohesive insurgency will continue to contribute to greater insecurity and the potential for intra-state conflict.
Recent history has been marked by the rise of post-conflict intervention as a component of military and foreign policy, as a form of humanitarianism and as a challenge to Westphalian notions of state sovereignty. The terms of debate, the history of the discipline and the evolution of scholarship and practice remain relatively under-examined, particularly in the post-9/11 period in which post-conflict recovery came to be construed as an extension of conflict and as a domain concerned principally with the national security of predominantly Western countries. The subsequent politicisation of post-conflict recovery and entry of post-conflict assistance into the political economy of conflict have fundamentally changed policy making and practice. The authors argue that research into post-conflict recovery, which must become increasingly rigorous and theoretically grounded, should detach itself from the myriad political agendas which have sought to impose themselves upon war-torn countries. The de-politicisation of post-conflict recovery, the authors conclude, may benefit from an increasingly structured “architecture of integrated, directed recovery.”
In 2002, conventional wisdom held that the consolidation of Bosnia’s three ethnically distinct armies into a single force under a unitary chain of command was an unrealistically ambitious goal for the foreseeable future. NATO’s Secretary-General agreed that year to remove defence reform as a precondition to Partnership for Peace (PfP) membership, a first step towards NATO accession. However, less than two years later defence reform was being implemented, albeit incrementally and begrudgingly, and those seemingly distant goals were near at hand. Scholars and policymakers quickly focused on the motives for this unlikely reform process and the institutions it would produce. However, since 2006, the year in which Bosnia’s armies and defence ministries formally united, the literature has gone silent on the topic of defence reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The fact that institutional defence reform had been achieved overshadowed discussions of its impact and long-term implications. This article attempts to fill this gap by addressing the following question: how has military downsizing been implemented within the scope of defence reform, and how has its implementation either supported or hindered broader state building agendas in BiH?