The series of peace agreements signed between November 2005 and December 2006 brought an end to the armed conflict in Nepal. Although the fighting had stopped, the Maoists retained de facto control of 70 percent of the country and maintained a large armed force.1 Furthermore, the political consensus that had driven the peace process threatened to collapse as the ties that bound the diverse array of political parties and interest groups began to unravel. Indeed, less than a year after the war ended, Madhesi militants in the Terai region launched an insurgency in the hope of achieving greater participation in the re-negotiation of Nepal’s social contract.2 These factors served to make the dual transition from war to peace and autocracy to democracy all the more challenging, greatly increasing the risk of a conflict relapse.
In January 2007, the UN deployed the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) to monitor and assist with the implementation of the peace agreements.3 These accords were exceptional to the extent that they were negotiated with extremely limited international assistance, and although a UN presence was requested to assist with implementation, the Nepalese architects of the peace process required a unique international presence.4 As a result, UNMIN remained a political rather than a peacekeeping mission and was tasked with completing a much more focused mandate than many contemporary UN operations. Its main task was supervising the Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration programme. This began in 2007 and by the end of the year over 30,000 former Maoist combatants had been processed. The reluctance of the Nepalese parties to allow armed peacekeepers into the country led to the formation of a neutral security force, the Interim Task Force, which was formed of Nepalese veterans of the Indian Army (of which there are many) and served to monitor the cantonment sites.5 UNMIN’s other main task was facilitating the military integration and Security Sector Reform process. To this end, it successfully navigated several crises and delays, ensuring that reforms were implemented, and the Nepalese military was ready to integrate former Maoist troops following the Mission’s departure in 2011.6 The limited UN presence in post-war Nepal proved vital in facilitating the first steps toward peace and