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.
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