7In Afghanistan, DDR was taken as a prime task in stabilizing the domestic situation in order to gain momentum for the political processes to succeed. However, it did not manage to establish a solid foundation for stability and peace. The continuing lack of security, personal safety and comprehensive reconciliation strategies are a few of the reasons why it failed to do so. If the Afghan DDR process had gone beyond the traditional notion of DDR and forged a new platform for transforming ‘reconcilable’ ex-combatants through the decommissioning practice, it would have been a de facto peace process. Also, DDR could have provided a crucial opportunity to re-link various opposing groups of ex-combatants with the existing Afghan governmental as well as with the reintegration benefits of U.N.-led DDR. Neglecting this crucial objective, DDR in Afghanistan did not contribute to achieving an important short-term goal: restoring security and stability in the immediate environs of the post-Taliban era, by filling a power vacuum created by the collapse of the Taliban regime. Disarming and demobilizing militias meant reduction of mistrust that has fueled a security dilemma between the fighting factions. Successful DDR in Afghanistan should have allowed aid agencies to work effectively and reach the most vulnerable people who were living in the far flank of the country and often in need of immediate assistance. In remote areas of Afghanistan, armed groups often develop a strong patronage system through which they seek to jeopardize reconstruction efforts in order to preserve their vested interests. DDR should be able to prevent these armed groups from kidnapping and killing aid workers, and allow development agencies to carry out their projects in a safe environment in the rural areas. In Afghanistan, however, DDR failed to create such a permissive environment, which not only resulted in the delay of development projects, but also let militias and private reconstruction companies engage in covert maneuvers. Achieving the above-mentioned short-term objectives through the DDR process was a crucial ingredient for the resumption of peaceful social and economic activities. The beginning of these activities in a conflict driven country will help meet the long-term goals of post-conflict peacebuilding such as sustainable recovery and development. Sustained social and economic re-integration of ex-combatants will never occur if post-conflict recovery and development does not begin. Although a DDR program can pave the way for a successful re-integration of ex-combatants into post-conflict economy, it is not a comprehensive development project in itself but it is 7Adech, J. W, Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration, in Meeting Minutes Item 4, Kabul, 2004.