Maria Amjad

Pakistan, Ph.D Candidate, Security, Risk and Vulnerability Program, Department of Political and International Science (DISPI), University of Genoa, Italy 2024

Staying the Course or Back Out? Understanding Rebels’ Commitment to Peace Processes

Maria Amjad

Project Description

Why do some rebels stay committed to peace processes while others do not? In my doctoral dissertation, I aim to answer this question. First, I seek to provide a more nuanced understanding of peace processes and their stages, emphasizing the interconnectedness of these stages and the impact it has on rebel decision-making. I challenge the conventional rational choice theory model that solely relies on cost and benefit analysis of rebel decision-making. Furthermore, I argue that a comprehensive understanding of rebels' commitment to peace processes necessitates an examination of the institutions that influence their decision-making. I propose a typology that categorizes the variations in decision-making processes based on rebel institutions, highlighting how these distinct processes can lead to differing levels of rebels' commitment to peace processes. I then illustrate how these distinct decision-making processes result in rebels following different paths during peace processes, leading to varying levels of commitment to peace. I analyze the trajectories of the peace processes involving the OPM in the Singapore Peace Process, the LTTE in the Sri Lankan Peace Process, the Taliban in the Afghan Peace Process, and FARC in the Colombian Peace Process to demonstrate the varying levels of commitment to peace processes. I focus on the Taliban's commitment to the Afghan Peace Process as a primary case study, supported by secondary research and semi-structured interviews using process tracing. I contrast the findings from the primary case with the other three case studies as shadow cases.


Maria Amjad is currently a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Security, Risk, and Vulnerability program at the University of Genoa, Italy. Her doctoral dissertation aims to analyze the rebels' commitment to peace processes, with a primary focus on the Taliban's commitment to the Afghan Peace Process. She is also currently a visiting research fellow at the Center for International Conflict Analysis and Management (CICAM) at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, where she is conducting detailed research on the Taliban's case study for her PhD dissertation. Her research interests revolve around civil conflict and rebel behavior in both wartime and peacetime, and she is working to develop regional expertise in the Af-Pak region.

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