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Title: Commanders in control : disarmament demobilisation and reintegration in Afghanistan under the Karzai administration
Author: Derksen, Linde Dorien
ISNI:       0000 0004 6421 4446
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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Commanders in Control examines the four internationally-funded disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programmes in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2014. It argues that although on paper they were part of Western powers’ ambitious state building project, in reality they served the U.S.-led military campaign against the Taliban as one of the mechanisms through which foreign support to armed groups was either given or withheld. By targeting different groups in different ways and at different times, DDR programmes were shaped by the wider political context – namely the fight against the Taliban and the movement’s continued political exclusion. By examining the programmes’ impact on individual commanders in four provinces – two in the northeast and two in the southwest – this study shows that the programmes deepened this pattern of exclusion. Local allies of international troops used them to reinforce their own position and target rivals. Those targeted often sought alternative ways of remaining armed, including by joining the insurgency. Thus, DDR – which was largely used to strengthen those winning and demobilise those losing – promoted not peace, as some foreign donors expected, but war. The main lesson from the Afghan experience is that DDR amidst war can generate instability and violence. This is especially the case when significant armed groups are excluded and portrayed as irreconcilable even when representing communities’ genuine grievances – the case in Afghanistan and other countries on the sharp end of the War on Terror like Iraq and Somalia. The state in these places is too weak to permanently exclude large groups, even with international military support. This means that to gain more control over the use of force – which is usually the objective of DDR – it must find a way to accommodate, not exclude, the main militarised patronage networks. In Afghanistan this means including the Taliban.
Supervisor: Lieven, Peter Paul Anatol ; Farrell, Theo Gerard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available