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Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy International Crisis Group 2005-10-27

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Asia Report N° 104 - 27 October 2005
Crisis Group
A. Political Program 3
1. New democracy 3
2. Immediate demands 4
3. Attitudes towards the monarchy 4
B. Economic Program 5
A. The Party 7
B. The People's Liberation Army 8
C. The United Front 10
A. Leadership, Command and Control 12
B. Membership and Support Base 14
1. Class 14
2. Ethnicity and caste 15
3. Women 15
4. Prospects 16
C. Resources 17
1. Finances 17
2. Weaponry 18
A. "Protracted People's War" 21
1. Strategic defence 22
2. The New Line: Prachandapath 23
3. Strategic balance 24
4. From the 2003 Ceasefire to the Next Offensive 25
B. One Year of Strategic Offensive 26
A. Map of Nepal 32
B. Maps of Maoist Regional Bureau Divisions and Proposed Ethnic and Regional
Autonomous States 33
C. The Maoist Leadership 34
D. The Structure of the Maoist Movement 38
E. The Upper Structure of the "People's Liberation Army" 39
F. The 40-Point Demand 40
G     The CPN(M) 2003 Negotiating Agenda 42
H.     About the International Crisis Group 48
I.      Crisis Group Reports and Briefings on Asia 49
J.      Crisis Group Board of Trustees 50
 Crisis Group
Asia Report N°104
27 October 2005
In less than ten years, the Maoist insurgency has
transformed Nepal. The Communist Party of Nepal
(Maoist) has spread armed conflict across the country
and reshaped its political environment irrevocably. But
their political aims are still questioned, and not enough
is known about their structure and strategy. This
background report seeks to fill in many ofthe gaps, based
on close study oftheir writings and actions and a wide
range of interviews, in order to provide policymakers in
Nepal and the international community with information
and insights needed to approach a peace process
The Maoists are at heart a political party. They have
developed military capacity but it is subordinated to
political control. They use terror tactics and coercion but
they are not simply terrorists. They maintain links to other
communist revolutionary groups on the subcontinent but
they are neither Khmer Rouge clones nor is their campaign
part of any global terrorism.
Maoist strategy is of a protracted people's war, both
political and military — the two cannot be separated. They
have a long-term vision, and they have patience. They can
be extremely astute politically (their September 2005
unilateral ceasefire announcement) but can also make
grave miscalculations in terms of their own long-term
objectives (their mishandling of leadership differences in
early 2005).
The Maoists are not likely to collapse because of internal
disputes. There are undoubtedly tensions within the top
leadership and challenges of command and control but
these do not add up to fatal weaknesses. The state's
security-driven agenda under a succession of governments
lacking legitimacy has only further strengthened their
The insurgents are pragmatic and tactically flexible.
They are aware they will not win an outright military
victory and have realised that an instant transition to
socialism is impossible. They are willing to compromise
to some degree and are keen to engage with domestic
and international political forces.
The Maoists have employed force for political ends since
the start oftheir armed campaign in 1996. They have used
torture, execution and other forms of violence including
terror and extortion. But they have also been more
restrained than many insurgent groups: they have limited
civilian casualties and generally avoided indiscriminate
attacks. They have left the economy functional, if
weakened, and have never targeted foreign nationals.
The Maoists are sensitive to domestic and international
opinion. However, despite their philosophy of people's
war they are not dependent on popular support. The
seriousness oftheir engagement in any peace process will
depend on their perceptions of risks and opportunities.
The international community may play an important role
in shaping these.
Senior Maoist leaders may well be motivated by a genuine
desire for social and economic transformation. Their
pursuit of domestic transformation takes precedence over
their professed commitment to global revolution. They are
more interested in controlling development efforts across
Nepal and consolidating their grip on local populations'
daily lives.
That the Maoists must be dealt with realistically is
something Nepal's mainstream politicians have long
understood. Having been on the receiving end of many of
the rebels' most brutal assaults, they harbour no illusions
about Maoist respect for political dissent. But at the same
time they see the possibility of using both carrot and stick
to persuade the Maoists to engage with them politically
with the aim of getting agreement on a common program
that would address certain oftheir demands that have won
widespread support.
The Maoists themselves have acted pragmatically
throughout much of the conflict. They have always
kept in mind the need to hold the door open for future
rehabilitation and reconciliation and have maintained
a dialogue with mainstream forces partly to this end.
They have also adopted a moderate policy towards
international development efforts and have long called
for international facilitation of a peace process.
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N°l 04, 2 7 October 2005
Page ii
Behaviour towards the newly established United Nations
human rights mission will be a crucial test of Maoist
attitudes and capacities. If they can prove that they are
ready for peace and capable of implementing a negotiated
settlement, the political mainstream will be ready to deal
with them. Judging by widespread popular relief following
their September 2005 declaration of a unilateral three-
month ceasefire, Nepal's people would back a reasonable
compromise that delivers peace.
Kathmandu/Brussels, 27 October 2005
 Crisis Group
Asia Report N°104
27 October 2005
When Nepal's Maoists — the Communist Party of Nepal
(Maoist), the CPN(M) - launched their "people's war" in
February 1996, they were easily dismissed as a small
communist splinter group that could do no more than stir
up trouble in a handful of remote regions. They had almost
no weapons, a tiny organisational base and a strategy that
seemed outdated and unrealistic. But their movement has
grown to the point where the state has relinquished control
over most of Nepal's territory.1 They have proved capable
of outmanoeuvring mainstream parties politically and,
when conditions are in their favour, of successfully
attacking the well-armed Royal Nepalese Army (RNA).
In the face of concerted efforts to defeat them, their
insurgency has proved resilient.
Despite the Maoists' rise to prominence and the growing
international concern at their threat to Nepal's established
polity, surprisingly little is known about them. This is partly
because oftheir own secretiveness: as an underground
movement the Maoists are cautious about their security and
keen to control their public image by restricting negative
news. But it is also because most observers have been
reluctant to grapple with the politics ofthe movement.2
Like most communists, Nepal's Maoists are prolific
writers and theorists and have produced a large body of
work which sheds light on their goals and strategy. They
have also been skilled propagandists, producing their own
publications, nrnning FM radio stations and using the
domestic and international media to promote their point
of view. In many key respects, the Maoists have done
what they said they would do. Understanding their plans
is not only crucial to tackling the insurgency militarily — a
task which has proved beyond the state so far — but also
to dealing with it pragmatically and plotting possible
routes to a negotiated settlement.
This background report draws on many of the Maoists'
own writings and statements, as well as much other
material, to examine three basic questions:
□ Who are Nepal's Maoists and what do they want to
achieve? Are they really Maoist at all? Politics lie
at the heart of the insurgency and understanding
Maoist goals and political culture is essential to
understanding the rationale for their armed struggle.
It can also help efforts to bring them into the
framework of parliamentary politics by addressing
reasonable elements oftheir program.
□ How is the movement organised and led? On
paper, the structure is simple: party, army and
united front. But the differences between theory
1 The Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) denies that control has been
relinquished over most of Nepal's territory. It states: "... since 1
February to date...we truly believe that we have been able to
contain tenor activities ofthe Maoist on innocent citizens in the
capital. With regards to the security situation in the country side,
it is true that we have not been able to have a security presence
in all the villages in the country. This is largely because of the
lack of manpower, but it is not true that little has changed in the
security situation in the country side. As the RNA's force is
strengthened due to the prevailing needs ofthe country, we will
continue to provide more security units in as many rural areas as
we can to defensively deploy the army to provide security to the
people... .The Maoists do not control any areas nor do they have
any liberated areas". Letter from Brigadier Dipak K. Gurung,
director, Directorate of J?ublic Relations, Royal Nepalese Army
Headquarters, to Gareth Evans, Crisis Group President, 20
October 2005. Brigadier Gurung was writing in response to
Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°41, Nepal: Beyond Royal Rule,
15 September 2005.
2 Crisis Group reporting on the Nepal conflict since April 2003
is available at There is also a growing
body of literature on the Maoist movement. Significant works
published before February 2004 are detailed in Ramesh Parajuli,
Maoist Movement of Nepal: A Selected Bibliography
(Kathmandu: Martin Chautari, 2004). Background reading
on the insurgency in English includes Deepak Thapa (ed.),
Understanding the Maoist Movement of Nepal (Kathmandu:
Martin Chautari, 2003; Karki and Seddon (eds.), The People's
War in Nepal: Left Perspective, (Delhi: Adroit, 2003); Deepak
Thapa with Bandita Sijapati, A Kingdom under Siege: Nepal's
Maoist Insurgency, 1996 to 2003 (Kathmandu: The J?rinthouse,
2003); Michael Hutt (ed.), Himalayan People's War' (London:
Hurst and Company, 2004). A large number of Maoist
documents, including articles, policy papers, press statements
and interviews, are available on the internet, especially at The Maoists have also published two useful
collections in book format: Some Important Documents of
Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (Janadisha Publications,
2004) and Problems and Prospects of Revolution in Nepal
(Janadisha Publications, 2004).
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 2
and practice are revealing, as are the ways in
which the Maoists have departed from historical
precedents. Questions of resources, support base
and command and control also give clues to Maoist
strengths and weaknesses.
□ What are the Maoists' strategy and tactics? Are there
signs that they will settle for a negotiated peace?
The overall strategy of protracted people's war is
well known in name but needs to be understood in
context. The Maoists' public announcement that
they have entered the final stage of strategic
offensive implies confidence of a military victory.
But in fact, there are more signs that the Maoists'
internal politics are putting the party in a good
position to compromise.
The Maoists themselves have fed the confusion over their
true aims with a plethora of seemingly contradictory
statements. Still proud to lay claim to the legacy of China's
turbulent Cultural Revolution ofthe 1960s, they have also
repeatedly insisted that they do not have a totalitarian
vision for a future state. Calls for the rapid establishment
of a "dictatorship ofthe proletariat" have been supplanted
by emphasis on the need first to complete Nepal's
"bourgeois democratic revolution" and establish a true
multiparty democracy.3
The Maoists have also welcomed the establishment of a
United Nations human rights monitoring mission and
vowed to abide by international humanitarian law.4 Which
ofthe many faces presented to the outside world is the
true one? What does the speed with which the Maoists
have often shifted positions say about their ultimate
intentions? There are no definitive answers to these
questions. Indeed, as the ongoing debates within the
CPN(M) indicate, it may well be that the Maoists
themselves have yet to settle on final answers. But this
report attempts to lay out the evidence on which at least a
better informed estimate of Maoist intentions and capacity
can be made.
The scope of this report is limited. It is analytical rather
than judgmental, drawing on dozens of published and
private sources, including Crisis Group interviews that
allow the Maoists to explain what they stand for in their
own words.5 In doing this it seeks not to endorse any
position but rather to test assertions against available
evidence, though these sources in many instances are
inevitably inadequate and self-interested.
Nevertheless, published Maoist writings, if read carefully,
do tend to provide a reasonable guide to the movement's
political culture and strategic aims, though statements on
topics such as military clashes and political achievements
tend to be designed as propaganda and must be approached
with some scepticism. The Maoists are understandably
keen to portray themselves in a good light and are,
therefore, hardly forthcoming about indiscipline within
their ranks or violations of international law. Maoist
strategy has been fairly consistent since the early 1990s
but since they adapt tactics to changing circumstances,
observers are often confused. This report concentrates on
providing a background guide to underlying politics
and structural factors as a basis for more detailed reporting
on specific issues in future.
Prachanda, press statement, 10 May 2005.
4 Prachanda, press statement, 13 April 2005.
5 Maoist terms such as "people's war", "people's governments",
"People's Liberation Army", etc. are generally used without
quotation marks. This is primarily for ease of reading and, of
course, does not imply endorsement.
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 3
1.       New democracy
The basic aim ofthe CPN(M) armed struggle is to capture
state power and establish "new people's democracy" (naulo
janbad)6 The concept of "new democracy" is inherited
from the thoughts of Mao Zedong, which in turn built
on the views of Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin. The "new
democratic revolution" marks the transition from the
classical Marxist stages of bourgeois hegemony ("old
democracy") to proletarian hegemony ("new democracy").7
For a society in which even the bourgeois democratic
revolution has not reached completion, however — such
as China in the 1930s or Nepal in the current Maoist
analysis — the new democratic revolution can telescope
the stages of bourgeois and proletarian hegemony.
Combined with the Leninist theory of "continuous
revolution", this forms the basis ofthe Nepali Maoists'
vision oftheir struggle:
This plan would be based on the aim of completing
the new democratic revolution after the destruction
of feudalism and imperialism, then immediately
moving towards socialism, and, by way of cultural
revolutions based on the theory of continuous
revolution under the dictatorship ofthe proletariat,
marching to communism — the golden future ofthe
whole humanity.8
This report follows Martin Hoftun, William Raeper and John
Whelpton, People, Politics and Ideology (Kathmandu, 1999),
pp. 200,238 ia\xsas\a!aagjanbadas, "people's democracy". This
brings out the Nepali language's clear distinction betweenjanbad
and prajatantra, both of which could be simply rendered in
English as "democracy" but which carry very different
connotations. To complicate the picture further, mainstream
politicians increasingly prefer the term loktantra to prajatantra:
praja ("offspring" or "subject") has paternalistic connotations
while lok simply means "people" and carries less pejorative
7 A succinct but authoritative explanation of Mao's concept of
new democracy can be found in Stuart Schram, The Thought of
Mao Tse-tung (Cambridge, 1989), pp. 76-79. Mao's own seminal
essay on the topic is "On the New Democracy", 1940, reproduced
in Jacobs and Baerwald (eds.), Chinese Communism: Selected
Documents (New York 1963), pp. 66-77.
8 "Theoretical Premises for the Historic Initiation of the
People's War", in Some Important Documents of Communist
Party of Nepal (Maoist) (Janadisha Publications, 2004).
Excerpts from the document "Plan for the Historic Initiation of
the People's War", adopted by the Central Committee of the
Party in September 1995.
When the Maoists launched the people's war, they used
their appeal to citizens to declare their resolve "to initiate
the process of forcibly smashing this reactionary state and
establishing a New Democratic state", in accordance with
"the almighty ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to
free humanity forever from the yoke of class exploitation".9
The question of what kind of "dictatorship" would be
required to oversee this process has been answered in
different ways, with the traditional Marxist "dictatorship
ofthe proletariat" generally being supplanted by the Maoist
concept of a mixed-class "people's democratic dictatorship":
"The fundamental character of New Democratic or
People's Democratic republican state shall be the people's
democratic dictatorship with the participation of all the
progressive classes including the national bourgeoisie and
oppressed nations/nationalities based on worker-peasant
alliance under the leadership ofthe proletariat".10
The concept of naulo janbad is far from exclusive to the
Maoists. At the start ofthe 1990s almost all of Nepal's
communist factions shared this goal. Most of them believed
that multiparty democracy could be one ofthe stages in
reaching this goal: "The disagreement was over how to
travel along the road and on how pluralist the political
institutions of naulo janbad would be".11 While the
moderate Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-
Leninist), the UML, opted for bahudaliya janbad
(multiparty people's democracy), the Maoists hardened
their opposition to the multiparty system that Nepal was
moving towards.12 Interviewed in September 1990,
Baburam Bhattarai, who became the chief Maoist
ideologue, explained the reasons for his criticism of
parliamentary democracy and plans for a reformed system:
In a parliamentary democracy you don't redistribute
the property, you just advocate free competition.
Free competition among unequals is naturally in
favour of the more powerful ones. When we
perform this new democratic revolution, we will
9 "Appeal of the C.P.N. (Maoist) to the People: March Along
the Path of People's War to Smash the Reactionary State and
Establish a New Democratic State!", in ibid. This is a translation
of the leaflet distributed across Nepal by the CPN(M) at the start
ofthe insurgency in February 1996.
10 Common Minimum Policy and Program of the United
Revolutionary People's Council, Nepal, Article 1.
11 Martin Hoftun et al., op. cit, p. 238.
12 The "people's movement", led by a coalition of previously
underground political parties, brought an end to three decades
of absolute monarchical rule. King Birendra capitulated to
demonstrators' demands for an end to the Panchayat system in
April 1990, and a new multiparty constitution was
promulgated in November 1990. For details, see Crisis Group
Asia Report N°99, Towards a Lasting Peace in Nepal: The
Constitutional Issues, 15 June 2005.
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 4
immediately redistribute property. We will
confiscate all landed property and redistribute the
wealth among the poor. The political institutions
may be the same. We believe in political freedom.
We will have elections, but the elections so far have
been dominated by money.13
Maoist thinking has veered between more radical and
moderate versions of this basic line.14 But they have been
flexible in their approach, eschewing hardline demands if
the circumstances require. For example, in the second
peace talks with the government in 2003, they were willing
to compromise on fundamental economic policy measures,
such as accommodating foreign capital, which they have
otherwise characterised as imperialist and "comprador".15
The Maoists believe nationalism provides an emotional
rallying point for violent struggle: "The Nepalese people
are very conscious and sensitive about the question of
nationalism, and.. .they feel proud to lay down their lives
while fighting rather than submit to the pressures ofthe
foreigners".16 Nepal's Maoists have also drawn heavily on
caste and ethnic grievances to mobilise popular support.
They have likewise selected targets for political activism
~ such as high private school fees ~ designed to win
middle class support. Their relative openness to foreign-
aided development projects and ambivalence on key
economic questions also points to a more pragmatic
2.       Immediate demands
Just before the launch oftheir people's war, the Maoists
had submitted a 40-point demand to then Prime Minister
Sher Bahadur Deuba. The headline points were related
directly to nationalism.17 Four were targeted specifically
Martin Hoftun et al., op. cit, p. 239.
14 The "hard" and "soft" lines on pluralist political institutions,
and their significance in the search for peace, are discussed
15 Comprador, as used in Mao's analysis and, following from
it, Nepali Maoist texts, refers to subservient domestic
intermediaries or partners of foreign capital and governments
who are instrumental in the subordination of the national
economy to imperialism and foreign capital.
16 "Strategy and Tactics of Armed Straggle in Nepal",
document adopted by the third plenum of the CPN (Maoist),
March 1995. Much of this sentiment is directed toward
resentment of the role India has often played in Nepal.
17 For a breakdown of the 40 demands in nationalist political,
economic and social categories, see Harka Gurung, Ananda
Aditya, Surendra K.C, Chuda Bahadur Shrestha and Sudheer
Sharma, An Overview of Recent Armed Conflict in Nepal
(Kathmandu, 2001), p. 97. The Maoists' own categories were:
"Demands related to nationalism", "Demands related to the public
at India, demanding the removal of "unequal stipulations
and agreements" in the 1950 Treaty of Peace and
Friendship (although not cancellation of the treaty
itself);18 nullification ofthe 1996 Mahakali Treaty on
water resources;19 control ofthe Nepal-India border and
banning of Indian-registered cars from driving in the
country; and lastly, a moralistic demand to stop the
"cultural pollution of imperialists and expansionists",
which primarily meant that "import and distribution of
vulgar Hindi films, video cassettes and magazines should
be stopped".
None of these demands can be described as particularly
Maoist: many of them have been raised repeatedly across
the political spectrum. Other nationalistic demands were
primarily economic: that foreign (British and Indian)
recruitment of Gurkha troops should cease and "decent
jobs" be arranged for recruits; that foreign technicians
should not be given preference over Nepalis; that the
"monopoly of foreign capital" should be stopped; that
customs duties should provide "sufficient income...for
the country's economic development"; and that "bribing
by imperialists and expansionists in the name of NGOs
and INGOs should be stopped".
The primary Maoist demands have remained largely
consistent since the earlier rounds of failed negotiation: a
roundtable conference, interim government and elections
to a constituent assembly. Since the royal coup of February
2005, however, their willingness to include the king in
talks has decreased, and they have pushed the mainstream
parties to accept the idea of a rapid transition to an interim
government (in which they would hope to play a major
role). They have already won considerable mainstream
support for the concept of a constituent assembly, although
their model has not been elaborated, and there are many
potential pitfalls.20
3.       Attitudes towards the monarchy
One ofthe Maoists' ultimate goals is a republic. However,
the initial 40 points they demanded did not tackle this
question head on but rather called for a new constitution
"drafted by the people's elected representatives" and for the
army, police and administration to be "under the people's
control". The only direct statement on the monarchy was
that "all the special rights and privileges ofthe King and
and its well-being" and "Demands related to the people's living"
For the text ofthe 40 demands, see Appendix F.
18 The treaty is available at
19 The treaty is available at
20 See Crisis Group Report, Towards a Lasting Peace in Nepal,
op. cit.
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 5
his family should be ended". The CPN (Unity Centre), the
immediate predecessor to the CPN(M), had opposed the
"the monarchical parliamentary multi-party system" and
viewed the real aim ofthe 1990 people's movement as
having been "to end the monarchical system".21 After two
years of armed insurgency, the CPN(M) reiterated that "the
analysis ofthe reactionaries that the king and monarchy
are deep-rooted in the Nepalese society is not true....It
was only after the emergence of the centralised feudal
state in a certain stage of development of class division
that attempts had been made to unnaturally impose the
king and monarchism through the practices ofthe system
of reward-and-punishment and divine theory".22
Nevertheless, when it came to negotiations in 2003, the
Maoists said they supported a freely elected constituent
assembly and would, therefore, not impose their policy by
force: "Different political forces can go to the people with
their own views on monarchy and other progressive issues,
and the final verdict ofthe people would be acceptable to
everybody concerned".23 During peace talks in both 2001
and 2003, the Maoists signalled that they would likely
accept a continuing role for the monarchy if it were purely
ceremonial. The royal coup of February 2005 and the
growing rift between the palace and the mainstream parties
have led to a hardening of rhetoric.24 But the emergence
of strong republican sentiment in student politics and
within parts of the Congress and UML leadership has
helped the Maoists pursue their preferred tactics.
While the CPN(M) wants a republic, it realises that it
will be much more effective to encourage the pursuit of
this demand by mainstream politicians than to push it
unilaterally.25 Party chairman and overall leader Prachanda
21 Political Line of CPN (Unity Centre).
22 "Experiences of the People's War and Some Important
Questions" in Some Important Documents Of Communist Party
Of Nepal (Maoist), op. cit. (Extract from the resolution adopted
at the Fourth Expanded Meeting ofthe Central Committee of
the Party, in August 1998.)
23 An Executive Summary of the Proposal Put Forward by
CPN (Maoist) for the Negotiations. See Appendix G.
24 "Raja ra dal: bhet nahune batotira", Himal Khabarpatrika,
30 May 2005.
25 "The democratic movement ofthe Nepalese people against
absolute monarchy, going on for more than half a century, is
now heading towards a climax. Whereas the eight-year-long
People's War (PW) led by the CPN (Maoist) for a people's
republic has virtually wiped out the feudal socio-economic and
cultural roots of the monarchy from the vast rural areas, the
students affiliated to the major parliamentary parties, so far
committed to the constitutional monarchy, have now switched
over to the slogan of a republic and are spearheading the
movement in the urban areas. This historical confluence of the
two currents of the democratic movement, i.e. revolutionary
and parliamentary, for the abolition of the monarchy and
institutionalisation of the republic has opened an excellent
claims to be confident: "The Party wants to institutionalise
a republican form of state through the Constituent
Assembly and believes that in a free and fair election
the mandate ofthe Nepalese people would be in favour
of a republic".26 At the same time, senior mainstream
politicians still believe the Maoists might accept a
ceremonial monarchy, with no powers, especially over
the military.27
For the Maoists, changes in Nepal's political institutions
are only the means to a much more far-reaching
transformation of its social and economic structure. The
concentration on headline demands such as republicanism
and a new constitution has often distracted attention from
their economic and social goals, many of which have
been elaborated in some detail. Maoist attitudes on these
illustrate the nature oftheir movement and hint at their
likely program if they were ever to gain power.
Their economic plans offer a hybrid model incorporating
capitalist elements on a strongly nationalist frame. This
reflects the post-colonial "mixed economy" applied in
countries such as India, Sri Lanka and Egypt rather than a
Stalinist command economy. The basic idea is that the
"commanding heights" ofthe economy should be controlled
by the state, while the rest is left to private capital.
Plans for social and cultural reform, not least the ambitious
goal of eliminating caste, ethnic, gender and regional
disparities and discrimination, are both a central plank
of Maoist policy and a major selling point to many
marginalised communities. The Maoists have tried to put
some policies into practice in areas under their control and
have brought about limited change. But the questions of
how genuinely they believe in their stated policy and how
closely they would insist on it if they gained any share of
national power remain unanswered.28
The starting point for Maoist analysis is their conviction
that Nepal is "semi-feudal", "semi-colonial", and at the
prospect for consummation of the anti-monarchy democratic
movement in the country". "Relevance of Monarchy in Nepal",
Approach Paper presented by the Nepalese People's Right
Protection Committee, India, New Delhi, 12 February 2004,
available at
monarch, htm
26 Prachanda, "A Brief Introduction to the Policies of the
CPN. (Maoist)", The Worker, No. 9, February 2004.
27 Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu, July and August 2005.
28 Maoist policy on ethnic autonomy and local government
will be the subject of detailed future Crisis Group reporting.
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 6
mercy of imperialism and Indian expansionism.29 Its
people suffer economic exploitation and discrimination
on many grounds. For Baburam Bhattarai, the people's
war is a means to solve the economic problems of
underdevelopment induced by imperialism, semi-
feudalism and international capitalism.30 In this
view, Nepal lost its economic self-sufficiency and
independence with British colonial dominance of South
Asia. Trade imbalances with post-independence India,
Indian investors' control of much of the economy and
exploitation of its resources, along with ready access to
cheap Nepali labour, have exacerbated this loss of
economic autonomy.
The Maoists claim that Nepal's dependence on agriculture
is primarily due to the distorting effects ofthe Indian
economy and trade. On top of this, Nepal's "semi-feudal"
society has contributed to stunted economic development
and extreme regional imbalances. Nepali capitalism is
based on import-dependent merchant capital concentrated
in the hands of a few magnates, usury-driven finance
capital and aid-financed bureaucratic capital. This has
retarded the development of production-oriented national
capital: "Thus, to develop national industrial capital by
destroying the [foreign-origin] and bureaucratic capital
and to pave the path of self-reliant development by
breaking away... [from] dependency, a revolutionary
transformation of society and the process of People's War
have become inevitable".31
In this sense, the people's war is not only a political
but also an economic program. Bhattarai proposes the
following broad prescriptive measures for economic
development policy:
□ changing production relations: confiscating land
from the feudals and capital from the comprador-32
bureaucratic classes;
□ mixed ownership: land to be owned individually by
peasants; major industries and financial companies
to be state-owned, with joint-ventures between state
and productive private capital; small and medium
businesses and trade to be owned by private
□ a protected and regulated economy: to ensure
independent and self-reliant development;
planned development: not a Soviet-style command
economy but "a genuine mass-oriented and efficient
economy functioning under a centralised leadership
and guidance and decentralised initiative and
management, which to a large extent was practiced
in China during Mao's time"; and
balanced development: economic and geographic
balance between country and town, hill and plains,
agriculture and industry, etc., but with industry as
the leading sector and agriculture the foundation,
the overall aim being "the urbanisation of the
countryside and not the rurahsation ofthe cities".
This analysis is repeated consistently in Maoist policy
documents such as the Political Line of CPN (Unity Centre) and
shapes the URPC program.
30 Baburam Bhattarai, Politico-Economic Rationale ofthe
People's War in Nepal (Kathmandu, 1998), available at
http ://insof. org/collected/bb_pe-rational. htm.
31 Ibid.
32Seefn. 15 above.
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The Party
Nepal's Maoists have attempted to emulate the classic
Chinese communist structure of "three magic weapons":
party, army and united front. The policy ofthe immediate
predecessor to the CPN(M), the CPN (Unity Centre),
explicitiy endorsed the threefold revolutionary organisation.
Significantly, it made clear that the united front would get
only subsidiary attention, while the major effort went into
the party and the army. This early indication of priorities
may go some way towards explaining the shape the Maoist
movement has subsequentiy taken:
For the success ofthe New Democratic revolution,
it is a must, as taught by Comrade Mao, to develop
the three instruments of "revolutionary Communist
Party, revolutionary United Front and People's
Army". It is evident that in such a revolution
the role ofthe Communist Party and the people's
war would be primary and that of the mass and
class organisations and the people's movement
be secondary. It is of primary importance to move
ahead with a concrete program for the development
of these instruments.33
The Maoists do not publicise their command structure,
and they protect the identities of many people in
leadership positions. The means by which they maintain
a system of command and control is kept deliberately
obscure, and most of their leaders remain underground.
But they have definitely followed the Chinese threefold
system, within which they have generally emphasised
the development ofthe party over the army and both of
these over the united front.
The party has overall responsibility for all activities related
to the "people's war" and for the development of policy.
The army (PLA), which is under the full control ofthe
party, is responsible for both offensive operations against
the "enemy side" and defensive arrangements. Prachanda
retains the top positions in both organisations, as chairman
of the party and supreme commander of the PLA. The
central body ofthe "united front" is the United People's
Revolutionary Council Nepal, which the Maoists have
fashioned partly as a revolutionary tool and partly as a
central people's government in waiting.
The CPN(M) is in many respects similar to mainstream
political parties within Nepal and beyond. Its organisation
follows communist principles but the resulting model
is not dissimilar to that ofthe Nepali Congress or other
moderate groups. Overall control ofthe party and military
remains firmly with the "party headquarters", which in
practice means Prachanda. He has the authority to take all
immediate decisions, though these can subsequently be
discussed by party committees which have the power to
endorse, revise or — occasionally — reject them.
Political leadership. The organisational hierarchy under
the chairman consists respectively of the standing
committee, politburo, central committee, divisional
commands, regional bureaus, sub-regional bureaus, district,
area and cell committees.34 The politburo contains at least
27 members, of whom ten are alternates.35 Prachanda is
chairman of the politburo's seven-member standing
committee, whose other members are Mohan Vaidya
(Kiran), Baburam Bhattarai, Ram Bahadur Thapa (Badal),
Post Bahadur Bogati (Diwakar), Krishna Bahadur Mahara
and Dev Gurung. The central committee has nearly 100
members and has grown as the movement itself has
expanded: at the second national conference in February
2001, there were only 55 members. But the increase in
numbers has not been accompanied by any increase in
authority: the majority of political and military-strategic
plans are still formulated by the politburo and the standing
committee. There is also a central advisory committee of
senior, experienced political leaders and activists. Regional
and district commanders underwent a major reshuffle
during July-August 2005.
Divisional commands. Beyond the central political bodies,
the three divisional commands have been granted broad
authority. The three divisions ~ western, special central
and eastern — were defined during the June 2002 central
committee plenary's wide-reaching review of organisational
structure. The special central command (the Kathmandu
valley, surrounding hill areas and the Tarai areas of Bara,
Parsa, Rautahat and others) was dissolved by the August
2004 plenum to form a new mid-central command. Certain
areas which had fallen under the special command were
transfened to the eastern command but most remained with
the mid-central division.36 The leader of each command —
33 "Political Line of CPN (Unity Centre)" in Some Important
Documents, op. cit. This is an extract from the Political Report
adopted by the Unity Convention of the then CPN (Unity
Centre) in December 1991. The Party's name was changed to
CPN (Maoist) after the Third Expanded Meeting ofthe Central
Committee in February 1995.
See Appendix B below for details of current central
committee members.
35 Crisis Group e-mail correspondence with a Maoist leader,
April 2005. There are two types of politburo members, full and
alternate. Full members have voting rights.
36 Before the creation of the divisional commands, there were
five regional bureaus directly below the central committee:
eastern, central, valley, western and expatriate (pravas). Now
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Page <
Maoists use the English term "In-Charge" — is an ex officio
member ofthe standing committee. The radical redrawing
of command borders was a particular feature ofthe August
2004 plenum: as well as shifting the Kathmandu valley
into the eastern command, it also moved the Rapti area,
encompassing the Maoist heartland of Rolpa and Rukum,
into the central command.37 The geographical scope of
the three commands is now: western central command
~ Mahakali, Seti, Karnali and Bheri zones; mid central
command ~ Gandaki, Lumbini, Rapti and Dhaulagiri
zones; eastern central command - Janakpur, Sagarmatha,
Bagmati, Narayani, Koshi and Mechi zones.38
International department. All units of the CPN(M)
outside Nepal's borders fall under the international
department, formerly headed by C.P. Gajurel (Gaurav)
and now by Baburam Bhattarai.39 The latter, accompanied
by other senior leaders, held meetings in New Delhi in
late May 2005 with Nepali and Indian political party
representatives.40 He has also been the main point of
contact for other international dealings. The international
department's responsibilities include expanding party
organisation — recruiting expatriate Nepalis, establishing
international contacts and relations, fiindraising, purchase
of ammunition and explosives and arranging training. It
initially concentrated on trying to build a base among
Nepalis in India, both permanent residents and temporary
the regional bureaus report to the divisional commands, and
they have increased in number and had their boundaries
redrawn. Each regional bureau now combines two zones:
Mechi-Koshi (Gopal Khambu in charge), Narayani-Bagmati
(Agni Sapkota in charge), Janakpur-Sagarmatha (Mani Thapa
in charge), Gandak [i.e. Gandaki-Lumbini] (Shakti Bahadur
Basnet in charge), Rapti-Dhaulagiri special bureau (Netra
Bikram Chand in charge) [Rapti-Dhaulagiri is described as a
"special" zone as it encompasses the main Maoist base areas],
Bheri-Karnali (Khadga Bahadur Bishwakarma in charge) and
Seti-Mahakali (Lekhraj Bhatta in charge).
37 Such a demarcation is not only geographically logical -
despite being the capital, Kathmandu is indeed towards the east
ofthe country - but also carries a symbolic message. While the
state's Kathmandu-centric insistence had forced the creation of
Western, Mid-Western and Far-Western development regions,
carrying a clear implication of distant hinterlands far removed
from the capital, the new Maoist arrangement demonstrated that
previously marginalised areas could now be part ofthe "centre".
38 J?unya Gautam Biswas', "Bidrohiharuko bhitri sanjal",
Nepal, 23 January 2005. It should be noted that the Maoists
have redrawn the boundaries of certain districts so that they do
not necessarily correspond to their official namesakes; there
have also been disputes between adjacent Maoist autonomous
governments over their boundaries.
39 Gaurav was arrested by Indian security forces at Chennai
airport on 19 August 2003 as the second ceasefire was about to
collapse. He was reportedly travelling to Europe to represent the
Maoists and try to present their case to Western governments.
40 Crisis Group interviews, New Delhi, May 2005.
migrants. This type of work has now been expanded to
Europe and North America.
Other departments. On paper, there are a number of
further central departments, including policy and direction,
broadcasting, publishing, schools, human rights, health,
ethnic, legal and cultural. These structures are designed
partly to shadow existing state entities and give the
impression that the Maoists are building a full alternative
structure. Apart from the sporadically prolific publishing
department, however, there is little evidence that these
nominal structures embody the type of full-fledged
administration that their enumeration is meant to imply.
Indeed, because ofthe capture of central leaders — some
fifteen are in prison in Nepal and India — and the killing
of others, the Maoists' central command is if anything
understaffed, with gaps in various positions.41
B.     The People' s Liberation Army
The main base of the Maoists' military strength is the
People's Liberation Army Nepal (PLA). Its strength is
hard to estimate. At the lower end, some analysts suggest
that the Maoists have only a few thousand hardcore
fighters. One military expert and retired RNA lieutenant-
general put their strength at 4,000 armed guerrillas, 5,000
militia who have received guerrilla training and 20,000
armed militia.42 The Maoists themselves claim they have
more than 10,000 armed guerrillas in their nine brigades,43
a figure that many close observers tend to accept. Indeed,
the RNA has offered a similar estimate: some 9,500
guerrillas and 25,000 militia.44 Other experts are more
cautious, suggesting a range of core fighters anywhere
from 5,000 to 8,000 or so.
Of course, the Maoists and the RNA both have reasons to
give higher estimates. The Maoists obviously want to
create the impression that they have a mass support base
and a considerable fighting force. The RNA is faced with
the problem that earlier state estimates of a small Maoist
guerrilla cadre simply do not tally with their depiction of
the current situation. The RNA says that over 8,000
Maoists have been killed in the conflict so far, more than
half since the breakdown ofthe 2003 ceasefire alone.45 If
41 Crisis Group telephone interview with a Maoist leader, Nepal,
March 2005.
42 Sadip Bahadur Shah, "Bhavishyahin vidroh", Samay, 30
December 2004.
43 Crisis Group interview with a Maoist contact, Kathmandu,
March 2005.
44 Colonel Victor J.B. Rana, RNA press conference, The
Kathmandu Post, 21 May 2005.
45 Brigadier General Dipak Gurung, RNA press conference,
Kathmandu, 6 May 2005 (in "Over 4,000 Rebels Killed Since
Aug. '03",, 6 May 2005) and Major General
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Page 9
both this claim and earlier estimates were correct, the
entire Maoist army should have been killed by now. As
one analyst commented on similar figures presented by
the RNA in December 2003:
Wherever the numbers may lie, the fatalities
inflicted on the Maoists would tend to suggest that
the Maoists are now in flight, and the forces ofthe
establishment are consolidating their domination
over the country's hinterland that had, for some
time, passed into the control ofthe insurgents. A
closer analysis of developments, however, reveals
the spectacle, rather, of a country hurtling towards
chaos, with the state and its agencies in headlong
The general headquarters ofthe PLA is under the leadership
of Supreme Commander Prachanda. The "general staff
consists ofthe members ofthe party standing committee.
The organisational hierarchy under the general
headquarters is: division, brigade, battalion, company,
platoon, squad and then militias, poorly armed fighters
who have not received full guerrilla training. For certain
areas such as Kathmandu, "special taskforces" have been
established. These are raised from selected guerrillas either
to serve in areas where there are no established regular units
or to carry out more specialised actions from time to time.47
This elaborate structure is a relatively recent development.
At the start oftheir military campaign, the Maoists were
very limited in number and lacked weaponry and uniforms.
The first units, which had minimal equipment, were
organised into "fighting units" (ladaku dal), "security units"
(suraksha dal) and "volunteer units" (svayamsevak dal).
According to the then military commander ofthe Maoists'
central region, Sandip, the real development ofthe "people's
army" only took place after the start of the government's
Operation Kilo Sierra 2 of May 1998-April 1999.48
In August 1998, the Maoists' fourth expanded central
committee meeting (plenum) adopted the slogan of
building "base areas" and building up military strength
in order to challenge government repression. The Maoist
guerrillas became increasingly well organised and well
trained, until by the start of 2001 they had effectively
defeated the police. They knew they were not capable of
fighting with the RNA, however, so, in July 2001, they -
Kiran Shumsher Thapa, RNA press briefing, Kathmandu, 20
May 2005 ("2,100 Scurity Men Killed During Nine Years:
RNA", Kantipur Online, 20 May 2005).
46 Ajai Sahni, "How Not to Fight an Insurgency", South Asia
Intelligence Review 2(21), 8 December 2003.
47 Crisis Group interview with a company-level PLA
Commander, Nepalgunj, February 2004.
48 Interview with Sandip, then company-level PLA commander,
Nepal Samacharpatra, 17 December 2000.
reciprocated the government's ceasefire offer and used it
to strengthen their military capacity, running advanced
training camps in many locations.49 In September 2001,
the formation of the "People's Liberation Army Nepal"
was announced at a gathering of guerrillas from across
the country in Kureli, Rolpa district. With their forces
now better organised and trained, they attacked the army
barracks at Ghorahi, Dang, in November and brought the
RNA into the war.
As the guerrilla army grew in size, the central committee
plenary of June 2002 decided to form brigade-level
military groupings. In August 2004, these were
incorporated into three divisions of three brigades each:
the eastern division under Barshaman Pun (Ananta), the
central division under Nanda Kishor Pun (Pasang) and the
western division under Janardan Sharma (Prabhakar). The
leadership of every fighting unit from company to division
level is shared between a military commander and a
political commissar, which the Maoists claim ensures
political control over the army.50 The commissar ranks
higher and is in charge of the party committee formed
within each military unit. All units above section level,
including special taskforces, are under orders to work
within the central plan defined by party policy.51 From late
summer 2005, however, there have been credible reports
that military and political workers at lower levels will be
deliberately separated, not least to avoid the demonstrated
risk of captured Maoists betraying the identities of too many
Beyond this, Prachanda announced in August 2004 the aim
of forming a 100,000-strong people's militia up to the
company level, under the command of district and regional
headquarters.53 In practice, militias take their orders from
different bodies, from local party committees to people's
governments.54 Mlitia members are not generally expected
to carry out the same guerrilla duties as mainstream fighters
but can be called upon as reinforcements. They are poorly
armed and do not wear uniforms.
49 Video footage from one such training camp in the north of
Dhading district commanded by Pasang was obtained by the
RNA and subsequently broadcast on Nepal Television. The
Maoists themselves filmed training sessions extensively and
have compiled at least two films of more than an hour each on
the activities of the PLA, many sections of which date to the
ceasefire period. These films have not been widely distributed,
although segments can be viewed at
50 Dinesh, "Janamukti senako vikas ra rajnitik karya", Janadesh,
10 August 2004.
51 Ibid.
52 Crisis Group interviews, Nepal, September-October 2005.
53 Press statement, 1 September 2004.
54 Dinesh "Janamukti senako vikas ra rajnitik karya", Janadesh,
10 August 2004.
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There have been credible allegations that the Maoists
carry out forced recmitment and use child soldiers.55 That
they do indeed carry out coercive recruitment is not in
doubt. Two oftheir campaigns in particular — "one house,
one guerrilla" and "shoes"56 - have been widely publicised.
The Maoists also make no secret ofthe fact that they give
military ftaining to children and have militarised the school
curriculum in areas under their control. Cases of Maoist
student cadets have been well documented but evidence
that child soldiers are used in combat is still patchy.
Similarly plausible allegations that civilians are used as
human shields surface after most large-scale attacks on
security bases; again, however, the truth is hard to ascertain
amid claim and counter-claim.
C.    The United Front
The concept ofthe united front was central to Mao's
thinking and to the communist victory in China. The idea
is simple in essence but broad, and potentially difficult, in
application. It means to "unite with all forces that can be
united with in order to fight a common struggle against
the enemy and to win in revolution and construction".57
The key is that the type of forces that can or should be
united with may vary entirely according to circumstance.
From the period of the anti-Japanese struggle, Mao
formulated and continually emphasised the "unity-stmggle-
autonomy" policy: "develop the progressive force, win
over the in-between force, and combat the obstinate
force".58 The categorisation of such forces depended on
objectives and interests; the Chinese Communist Party
went through at least five quite different united front
See "Caught in the Middle: Mounting Violations Against
Children in Nepal's Armed Conflict", Watchlist on Children and
Armed Conflict January 2005, available at http://www.watchlist.
org/reports/nepal.php. Child soldiers have also been the subject
of international press reporting, such as John Lancaster "Concern
Grows over Nepal's Child Fighters", The Washington Post, 14
June 2005.
56 In the latter, Maoists place a pair of shoes outside the door of
a house as a sign that one member of the household is expected
to join the party, normally the military, as a "whole-timer". See
Kishore Nepal, "The Maoist Service Provision in Parts of Mid
and Far West Nepal", Centre for Professional Journalism Studies,
Kathmandu, March 2005.
57 Kwok-Sing Li (tr. Mary Lok), A Glossary of Political
Terms ofthe People's Republic of China (Hong Kong, 1995),
p. 451, emphasis added.
58 Ibid, p. 452.
59 The first effort, cooperating with the KMT in the Revolutionary
National United Front (1924-1927), ended in disaster as Chiang
Kai Shek ultimately turned on the communists and sought
to destroy them. It was only after the retreat to the remote
From the start ofthe 1990s, the Nepali Maoists planned
the creation of a particular type of united front. It would
be the least important ofthe three revolutionary "weapons",
and it would be a hybrid ofthe various Chinese models:
the "revolutionary United Front" would be "an instrument
of struggle and an embryo ofthe new power".60 In
other words, it would not only be a broad coalition of
organisations assisting in the revolutionary struggle but
would also function as an embryonic government. Despite
the existence of a plethora of fraternal organisations created
alongside the CPN(M) and repeated efforts to build
bridges with mainstream parties, it is the latter role ofthe
united front that has come to predominate in Nepali Maoist
Nepal's Maoists bitterly criticised existing "reformist
trends" within the communist movement that "focus on
the legal movement and put emphasis only on forging
unity-in-action with the various reactionary and Right
revisionist political groups and of sectarian and mechanistic
trends that only create noises by mechanistically forging
[a] 'united front' oftheir Party cadres alone".61 A true
revolutionary united front should bring together "anti-
feudal and anti-imperialist patriotic, democratic and leftist
forces as an instrument of developing class straggles... .The
principle function of such a front should be to develop
struggles on the basis of people's problems that would
gradually break the [limits of] law and the system. At the
initial stages, the effective form of such a front would be
confined to rural areas and at the local level" .62
As the Maoists approached the launch ofthe people's war,
they defined a narrow role for the united front, with its
component elements strictly subordinated to the party:
"Armed struggle will be carried out by uniting all strata
and categories of anti-feudal and anti-imperialist masses
ofthe people under the leadership ofthe Party".63 Within
three years the armed insurgency had expanded
significantly, prompting consideration of formalising the
united front under the rubric of the "Central Organizing
countryside and the Long March that the communists were
able to form an anti-Japanese front (1937-1945), which fought
successfully to liberate China from the invaders. From the end
of the second world war to the communist victory of 1949,
the targets ofthe united front were obstructive external forces,
the U.S. and USSR; once in power the objective was the
transformation of the bourgeoisie; once the upheavals of the
Cultural Revolution were over, the party leadership projected
the image of a "New Era Patriotic United Front".
60 "Political Line of CPN (Unity Centre)", op. cit.
61 Ibid.
62 Ibid.
63 "Theoretical Premises for the Historic Initiation of the
People's War", op. cit.
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Committee ofthe People's Republic of Nepal".64 Its role
would still be to mobilise "various left, progressive,
patriotic and democratic forces" but it would be explicitly
transitional: "[S]uch a central formation will principally
work as a means of struggle for the time being and will
work secondarily as a means of power". In this, it partially
reflects the "people's democratic front" ofthe early People's
Republic of China, which was meant to help fulfil
fundamental state tasks and oppose internal and external
enemies.65 In September 2001, during the first ceasefire,
the Maoists created a 37-member United Revolutionary
People's Council (URPC) as such a front. It was headed
by Baburam Bhattarai, with Krishna Bahadur Mahara as
assistant convenor and Dev Gurung as secretary.66
The Maoists have established a range of fraternal
organisations to boost their popularity by carrying out
above-ground political activities and mobilisation on
their behalf. By 2000, there were more than twenty
such organisations.67 Before the declaration of a state of
emergency in November 2001, they carried out open
or semi-underground activities. The most influential
has been the All-Nepal National Free Students Union
(Revolutionary) led by Lekhnath Neupane. Other active
organisations include the Nepal Trade Union Federation
(Revolutionary) led by Salikram Jamarkattel; the All-
Nepal Women's Association (Revolutionary) led by
Jayapuri Gharti; the All-Nepal Janajati Federation led by
Suresh Ale Magar; the All Nepal Peasants Association
(Revolutionary); the All-Nepal Teacher's Organisation
(Revolutionary) led by Gunaraj Lohani; the Nepal
National Intellectuals Organisation and the All-Nepal
People's Cultural Union led by Mani Thapa; and the All
Nepal Peasants Association led by Shivaraj Gautam.68
"Experiences of the People's War and Some Important
Questions", op. cit.
65 The Preamble to the Constitution ofthe People's Republic of
China states that "In the course ofthe great struggle to establish
the People's Republic of China, the people of our country forged
a broad people's democratic united front, composed of all
democratic classes, democratic parties and groups, and popular
organisations, and led by the Communist Party of China. This
people's democratic front will continue to play its part in
mobilising and rallying the whole people in common straggle
to fulfil the fundamental task ofthe state during the transition [to
socialism] and to oppose enemies within and without". Documents
ofthe First Session ofthe First National People's Congress of
the People's Republic of China (Peking, 1955), p. 134.
66 Press statement of URPC, 26 November 2001.
67 "Report of the High Level Recommendation Committee
on Resolution of the Maoist Problem", 2000, His Majesty's
Government Nepal, p. 12.
68 Compiled from different media sources, including
These organisations, termed "people's class organisations"
(janvargiya sangathan) by the Maoists, are not strictly
speaking part of a united front but ancillary wings ofthe
party structure. They follow its direction and act as
subsidiaries with specialised tasks or support bases.
They are also useful as a way of drawing recruits into
underground activities via semi-open groups that operate
at a slight distance from the central party. New members
of the CPN(M) tend to have been inducted from such
groups, especially if they have earned a reputation for
good work in them.
Apart from the students union — the ANNFSU(R) — all
these organisations were formed after the start of the
insurgency, and their contributions have been patchy.
The ANNFSU(R) demonstrated the Maoists' reach in
urban areas for the first time with a strike which shut
down more than 30,000 schools across the country in
November 2000. It further expanded its activities from
the period ofthe first ceasefire in 2001, targeting the
inefficiencies and inequities ofthe education system, in
particular the fee-paying private schools which had
mushroomed after 1990. Its campaigns to reduce private
school fees were a clever tactical move that won support
from a large lower middle class struggling to educate its
children. The ANNFSU(R) claims a large membership
but does not have an established structure in urban
schools and colleges. Nevertheless, it continues to make
political interventions, often school shutdowns.
The other organisation that has recently gained an
active profile is the Nepal Trade Union Federation
(Revolutionary), which brings together some dozen
nominal unions.69 Its main task is to advance Maoist aims
through industrial action and to mobilise a support base
by organising labourers in various sectors ofthe formal
economy. Its leaders and members have also reportedly
played an important role in collecting "donations" from
industrialists and businessmen in Kathmandu, Biratnagar
and Birgunj.70 It was initially said to be behind scattered
incidents of extortion, vandalism and bomb explosions but
it gained a wider reputation in September 2004 when it
forced the shutdown of twelve major businesses over
labour conditions and complaints about the foreign capital
These unions include the All Nepal Carpet Workers Union,
All Nepal Transport Workers Union, All Nepal Hotel and
Restaurant Workers Union, All Nepal Construction Workers
Union, All Nepal Meter Tempo Workers Union, All Nepal
Press Workers Union, All Nepal Thangka Art Workers Union,
All Nepal Painters Union, Nepal Shop Workers Union, Nepal
Progressive Newspaper Vendors Union and Himalayan Trekking
Workers Union.
70 Crisis Group interviews with Royal Nepalese Army officials,
Kathmandu, March 2005.
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and exploitive multinational corporations.71 It enforced its
strike with a minor bomb attack on the grounds ofthe
five-star Soaltee Hotel, which hurt the tourism sector and
also served as a symbolic attack against the royal family,
which is closely linked to the hotel.72
However, the Maoists have yet to attempt the type of
united front politics that was decisive in the Chinese
revolution. Creating their own support organisations
is not the same as persuading forces with different aims to
join them in a shared task for limited common objectives.
The main reason for this has probably been the Maoists'
compulsion to eliminate political rivalry across the
countryside by targeting other parties' activists. This has
not created fertile ground for the kind of understanding
that would be necessary to build a viable working alliance
with other political groups. Nor, until the royal coup
in February 2005, was there sufficient feeling within
the mainstream parties that any collaboration with
the Maoists could be safe or profitable. The Maoists'
subsequent efforts to work with the mainstream parties
will be the first, and probably most crucial, test of whether
they can build a true united front.
Mukul Humagain, "Arthatantia dhwasta banaune niyat",
Nepal, 29 August 2004.
72 "Rebels force Nepal firms to close", BBC News, 17 August
2004, available at
The Maoists are in general disciplined and united but still
face problems in controlling their large movement. Since
the CPN(M) was formed in 1995 it has not suffered a
single split; in contrast, each ofthe major mainstream
parties has been fractured at least once. Prachanda is
unlikely to face a serious challenge to his monopoly on
power within the party. Apart from Baburam Bhattarai,
there are no other leaders of a stature sufficient to present
a threat to his authority; Bhattarai himself has repeatedly
insisted he has no designs on the leadership and may have
been chastened by the disciplinary action he underwent in
early 2005. But maintaining such discipline requires
constant effort. Senior leaders spend significant time
dealing with policy debates and trying to prevent
disagreements from becoming damaging. According
to the RNA, this has had a direct effect on operational
effectiveness by distracting attention from the
implementation of plans and strategy.73
There are other tensions within the party but none at
the moment pose a grave threat to its unity or operational
capacity. The most obvious area of current and potential
divisions is the relationship between the party and the
various ethnic front organisations. In 2004 there were
notable splits in Saptari, where Maoist leader Jay Krishna
Goit separated from the Madhesi National Liberation
Front, and in the eastern hills, where there were several
defections from the Kirat National Liberation Front.
These received significant press attention but the Maoists
insist they are unlikely to cause serious damage to the
movement.74 However, the fact that similar disputes have
flared up again in the months following the royal coup
suggests they do indeed represent a serious challenge.75
The arrest of many senior leaders has caused the Maoists
more serious problems. Among the fifteen central level
cadres in prison in India are Mohan Vaidya (Kiran), a
senior ideologue and respected figure who has in the past
helped smooth over differences between Prachanda and
Bhattarai, and CP. Gajurel (Gaurav), who was working
on the international front before being caught in Chennai
See the assessment of Major General Kiran Shumsher Thapa
published mAnnapurna Post, 21 May 2005.
74 Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, March 2005.
75 September 2005 saw reports of Maoist disarray in Tehrathum
(Crisis Group e-mail communication) and of a "rebellion" by
Madhesi cadres against the party "high command" ("Madhesi
Maoists Revolt Against Party", The Himalayan Times, 20
September 2005).
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Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 13
trying to fly to London on a fake British passport. Other
imprisoned colleagues were also carrying out significant
tasks, and their loss has affected Maoist capacity.76 Two
important leaders were arrested in India and handed over
to Nepal: Matrika Yadav, whose role was central in the
Maoist expansion and mobilisation in the Tarai, and
Suresh Ale Magar, a figurehead for ethnic activists within
the movement. Since the Maoist unilateral ceasefire
declaration of 3 September 2005, a number of mid-level
commanders have been arrested, some apparently through
their carelessness.77
Many ofthe most capable Maoist leaders have been killed.
Alternate politburo member Suresh Wagle (Basu) was
killed by police in Gorkha on 8 September 1999; central
leader Dandapani Neupane (Dipendra Sharma)
disappeared from Kathmandu on 21 May 1999 and is
assumed to have been killed; regional level leader and
pro-Maoist journalist Krishna Sen was killed in police
custody during the first emergency in 2001; central
committee member Rft Bahadur Khadka (Pratap), of
Dolakha district, was killed in Rautahat in July 2002;
central committee members Mohan Chandra Gautam
(Kumar) and Sherman Kunwar (Vishal) were killed in
Siraha in 5 September 2004.78 On 13 May 2004, central
committee member and brigade commander Nep Bahadur
K.C. (Parivartan) died in an accident,79 and in March
2005 central committee member and Satbariya Second
Brigade commander Jit was killed in a military clash in
There have also been surrenders, in particular after the
RNA was deployed, such as of brigade commander Horn
Prakash Shrestha (Himal), battalion commanders Jaya
Bahadur Gharti (Prabhat) and Man Bahadur Malla
(Sangharsh) and company commander Janu Chhantyal
(Pratap).81 Political workers who have surrendered include
regional bureau members Khop Bahadur Kandel, Ravi
Karki and Mandavraj Karki.
They include competent party managers such as Kul Prasad
K.C, Hit Bahadur Tamang, Lokendra Bista, Dilip Maharjan,
Chitra Narayan Shrestha and Anil Sharma.
77 For example, security forces arrested 14th battalion commissar
Umesh Shrestha (Anil), Khotang district in-charge Ganesh
Karki (Prabhat) and ANNFSU(R) central committee member
Ratna Dhakal in Kathmandu in September-October 2005. Saptari
district in-charge Shivaram Yadav (Subash) was also arrested
on 1 October 2005 in Kachandaha, Saptari district.
78 Vishal, whose home was in Sindhuli, was the commissar
ofthe Solu-Salleri Sixth Brigade.
79 Prachanda, press statement, 5 June 2004.
80 Jit was the second brigade commander to be killed by the
81 All these Maoists commanders were produced by the RNA
during a press meeting. See, Nepal, 30 January 2004.
Surrenders and defections have taken place from most
lower party levels but they do not seem to have extended
to the central level. However, central committee members
Rabindra Shrestha, Rekha Sharma, Mumaram Khanal,
Krishnadhvaj Khadka and Bamdev Chhetri were accused
by the party of "weakness" while in state custody in 2001;
Sharma, Khadka and Khanal have not been rehabilitated,
and Khanal has publicly declared that he is no longer
associated with the CPN(M).82
The writ of Prachanda still runs throughout the Maoist
movement, and central-level decisions are fed down to
the regional, district and village levels. There have been
no major disruptions to this chain of command, so to this
extent the movement remains united and disciplined. The
reason is a well organised national command structure
firmly in the grip of the central leadership. Numerous
accounts of strong central management illustrate this,
such as the cautionary tale of local Maoists who tried to
make money out ofthe medicinal yarcha gumbo83 trade:
"At one point several years ago, local Maoists inserted
themselves as intermediary dealers and profited from the
larger transactions. When the Maoist leadership learned
of this practice, they stopped it, returned the trade to its
traditional private dealers, and confiscated and remitted
the ill-gotten gains to the Maoist central treasury".84
But many observers question the firmness of central control,
pointing to incidents where local commanders appear
to be working against higher-level policies or simply in
ignorance of them. The party has also taken action against
cadres for carelessness or mistakes but such disciplinary
measures are normally only publicised if there is particular
pressure. This was the case with the killing of Dailekh
journalist Dekendra Raj Thapa on 11 August 2004. It was
only after intense national and international criticism that
the then Maoist western central commander Diwakar was
compelled to explain the murder. He claimed that Thapa
was notjust a journalist but also an informer, who had
caused the deaths of a number of people. But there had
been a mistake: according to Maoist central policy "any
journalist guilty of such serious crimes could be arrested
but capital punishment should not be carried out".85 He
announced that the party had ordered an inquiry but no
Interview with Mumaram Khanal, Nepal, 8 May 2005.
83 Yarcha gumba (cordyceps sinensis) is a highly valued
traditional medicine found in the Nepal Himalaya and exported
to India and China.
84 Robert Gersony, "Sowing the Wind: History and Dynamics
of the Maoist Revolt in Nepal's Rapti Hills", report submitted
to Mercy Corps International, October 2003, p. 14, available at
85 Diwakar, in charge ofthe CPN(M) western central command,
press statement, 21 August 2004.
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Page 14
results have been published other than a short statement on
their website.
One reason for cases of indiscipline is the degree of
autonomy granted to lower levels ofthe party. A certain
amount of decision-making power is devolved to
committees and other regional bodies according to their
status. In particular, the three divisional commands
theoretically have significant freedom to decide their own
programs and plans of action in line with overall policy.
But as their leadership is drawn from the standing
committee, there is little likelihood of them taking a line
that has not been agreed upon at the top level.86
Local and district committees are granted the authority
to decide on military targets and assassinations but the
misuse of this authority has been a recurring feature.87
The most sensitive part of the Maoist movement, the
military, has so far not known significant internal
indiscipline or anarchy.88 This is partly due to the system
of dual military/political leadership: while commanders
lead guerrillas in action, the commissars' party rank is
higher. The requirement for significant decisions to be
taken by commander and commissar jointly reduces the
likelihood of indiscipline.
Frequent claims that the Maoists have descended into
anarchy or are "running amok" seem to be exaggerated
and are denied by their military command. However, the
Maoists suffer from a widespread problem of individual
indiscipline. This is partly due to their rapid expansion. In
the early years their cadres would be carefully selected,
screened and educated in Marxist and Maoist doctrine
before being given responsibilities. This created a small
but politically focused and disciplined group.
But as the movement grew rapidly, especially with the
need for increased recruitment once the RNA was
mobilised, the process of careful selection was more or
less abandoned. The average age of party cadres, whether
on the political or military front, was also lowered. As
a result, indiscipline and related problems have greatly
increased. The Maoist dictum used to be "it is ideas that
control the gun, not the gun that controls ideas" but for
many cadres the gun seems to have grown more powerful.
In recognition ofthe problem, internal corrective measures
have been taken from time to time.
It does not appear that the Maoists have reached a
command and control crisis but they clearly face
difficulties. A large and diffuse movement which has
doubtless attracted a fair share of criminal elements poses
inherent management challenges. The loss of senior leaders
through death, arrest or internal disputes has hampered
their capacity. Internal tensions have a particularly
damaging effect on general morale as well as operational
effectiveness. It is surely no coincidence that the Maoists
suffered several significant military defeats during the
period of intense speculation over the possible breakdown
ofthe Prachanda-Baburam partnership in early 2005.
The Maoist movement could not have grown to the extent
it has without mobilising a significant support base, even
if it remains only a small percentage of Nepal's population.
The RNA, for example, estimates that beyond their armed
cadres and 14,000 political workers, the Maoists may
have some 100,000 supporters.89 The Maoists, obviously,
would claim a far greater number, and there is certainly a
larger category of latent sympathisers as well as committed
supporters. Retired RNA Lieutenant-General Sadip
Bahadur Shah estimates 24,000 active supporters and
200,000 sympathisers.90
A number of surveys have indicated that while the Maoists
might only win a low percentage of votes in a free and
fair election, a much wider constituency agrees with their
aims but not their means. Overall, there are three categories
of supporters: committed "whole-timers", who have gone
underground and take part in either military or political
work; supporters, who provide assistance in a number of
ways but are not declared Maoists and operate above
ground; and sympathisers, who offer little if any practical
help and may include those who are dissatisfied with
Maoist violence but nevertheless back their political
1.       Class
Before launching their armed struggle the Maoists made a
class analysis ofthe motivating forces on which they could
hope to draw. They identified six broad classes from whom
they could expect some support: the proletariat, poor
peasants, middle peasants, rich peasants, petty bourgeoisie
Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, March 2005.
87 Crisis Group interview with a Maoist cadre, Nepalgunj,
February 2004. Such decisions are taken collectively by a
committee or military commission but the secretary, commander
and commissar have the major roles.
88 "Declaration of PLA", document passed by the first national
conference ofthe People's Liberation Army, September 2001.
Colonel Victor J.B. Rana, RNA press conference, The
Kathmandu Post, 21 May 2005.
90 Sadip Bahadur Shah, "Bhavishyahin vidroh", Samay, 30
December 2004.
91 Crisis Group interviews with Maoist organisers and other
political party workers, 2004 and 2005.
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Page 15
and national bourgeoisie.92 The latter three were expected
to be only "vacillating allies", although the Maoists saw
the petty bourgeoisie as playing a potentially "important
auxiliary role". They also noted that "imperialists" and
"reactionary forces" were concentrating on co-opting
Like traditional Marxists, the Maoists believe that although
the Nepali proletariat is small, it remains "the most
revolutionary class" and still bears the "historical
responsibility of identifying and giving leadership to other
allied classes". They concluded that the main motivating
force, however, would be a mix of rural and urban workers:
"farm workers, bonded labourers, landless peasants,
porters, and poor peasants, and in our case in the cities
the cart pullers, rickshaw pullers, drivers of tempos, taxis,
and transport and hotel workers, etc." Interestingly, the
middle peasants were also singled out both for the fact
that they survive with difficulty despite owning land and
because they outnumber other classes in the hills.93
While these were the primary class categories for the
Maoists to work with, they were assisted by the fact that
other communist groups had built up a base of cadres
schooled in Marxism. The Maoists were able to benefit
through defections from the discontent of some members
of mainstream communist parties. According to one
Maoist leader, this was particularly the case with
disaffected UML cadres in the east ofthe country.94 This
ideologically sophisticated core was instrumental in
helping the Maoists in their early expansion.
Many of the Maoists' early campaigns also helped them
win broader sympathy. For people long ignored by central
government and conscious ofthe unequal development of
the country, the Maoists seemed to offer new hope. The
first experiments in "people's court" justice won support
when exploitive moneylenders and landowners were
punished, while campaigns against alcohol abuse and
domestic violence painted the Maoists in a bold, reformist
light. However, the novelty of these campaigns wore off,
and their doubtful efficacy has limited their ability to
boost Maoist strength.
2.       Ethnicity and caste
The wide participation of otherwise excluded ethnic and
caste groups is a notable feature ofthe Maoist movement.95
92 „
Strategy and Tactics of Armed Straggle in Nepal", op. cit.
94 Interview with Ananta, Commander of PLA's eastern
division, Janadesh, 16 December 2003.
95 Sudheer Sharma, "The Ethnic Dimension of the Maoist
Insurgency", May 2002 (unpublished report made available
to Crisis Group), p. 26.
But participation has not translated into control at the
top levels. The concentration in Rolpa and Rukum of
independent-minded Magars, well aware oftheir historic
exclusion from the Nepali state, was one ofthe factors that
made this a suitable crucible for Maoist mobilisation. But
there have been repeated accusations that young people
from minority communities have been cynically
manipulated by the leadership and used as little more than
There are only two members of ethnic minority
communities — Ram Bahadur Thapa and newly appointed
Dev Gurung — in the seven-member Maoist standing
committee. Other bodies are more representative. Ofthe
URPC's 37 members, twenty are from ethnic and dalit
(outcast) communities, while there were eleven members
of ethnic and dalit communities in the sixteen-member
United People's Front, dissolved in 2000. There is also
a significant presence of ethnic, dalit and Tarai leaders
in the central committee.96 Whatever the composition
of the leadership, the fact that the Maoists have made
an apparently serious commitment to minority rights —
something neither the palace nor the mainstream parties
have ever been able to bring themselves to do97 — means
that they offer an alternative that many in such
communities, especially the radicalised and disillusioned
youth, find attractive.
3.       Women
The Maoists have made a particular effort to appeal to
women and to recruit them as active participants in their
movement.98 Gender equality has always been a feature
For example, Dev Gurung, Ram Bahadur Thapa, Man Bahadur
Thapa, Suresh Ale Magar, Matrika Yadav, Nanda Kishore Iran,
Barshaman Pun, Ram Charan Chaudhari, Chitra Narayan
Shrestha, Rabindra Shrestha, Hisila Yami, Santosh Budha
Magar, Puma Bahadur Gharti, Kumari Moktan, Hitman Shakya
Hit Bahadur Tamang.
97 Crisis Group will examine this failure in detail in subsequent
reporting on the mainstream political parties.
98 The topic of women in the Maoist movement will be examined
in its own right in subsequent Crisis Group reporting. Maoist
women themselves, most notably Hisila Yami (Parvati), have
written on the subject. See, for example, Hisila Yami and
Baburam Bhattarai, Marxbad ra mahila mukti (Marxism and
Women's Emancipation) (Utprerak Prakashan, 2000) and Parvati,
"Women's Participation in the People's War" in Arjun Karki
and David Seddon (eds.), The People's War in Nepal: Left
Perspectives (Delhi, 2003). Prachanda has also published an
article, "Problem of Women's Emancipation and the Need of
Today", in Problems and Prospects of Revolution in Nepal, op.
cit. Non-Maoist perspectives are available in Shobha Gautam,
Amrita Banskota and Rita Manchanda, "Women in the Maoist
Insurgency in Nepal", in Thapa (ed.), op. cit, pp. 93-124 and
Mandira Sharma and Dinesh Prasain, "Gender Dimensions
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Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 16
oftheir political program. In the appeal that marked the
start of the insurgency, the CPN(M) complained that
"whereas this state has been treating women as second-
class citizens for long, now it has intensified rape,
trafficking and the process of commoditisation through
advertisements, against them".99 The URPC devoted
a separate section to women and family in its policy
manifesto, promising that under Maoist rule, "all forms of
patriarchal exploitation of women shall be ended, and
women shall be given all rights equal to men. Like son,
daughter shall enjoy equal rights to parental property.
Women shall be provided with special rights for
participating in all organs ofthe state".100 They also vowed
to eradicate commercial sex work, take harsh action against
traffickers, permit only marriage by mutual consent, permit
abortion and give special consideration to women in
divorce proceedings.101
Women have been inducted into all areas of the party,
army and front organisations. It has been estimated that
they constitute anywhere between 30 and 40 per cent of
the Maoist guerrilla force.102 The Maoist women's
organisation, the All-Nepal Women's Union
(Revolutionary), has led campaigns against alcohol and
domestic violence. It was particularly active around the
time ofthe 2001 ceasefire but the arrest of its then leader,
Rekha Sharma, and other senior figures caused severe
disruption. In 2003 Jayapuri Gharti, a central committee
member from Rolpa, was appointed the new chair ofthe
organisation, and it has started to work more in rural
areas. The Maoists have a stated policy of including as
many women as possible in each military unit. According
to their leaders, by 2000 there were many female squad
commanders and deputy commanders, and in some areas
there were all-women guerrilla units.103 According to
Hisila Yami (Parvati), by early 2004 women formed a
third ofthe PLA and were represented up to the levels of
vice-commander and commissar at the battalion level.104
However, women still have a long way to go if they are to
approach equality even within the Maoist movement itself.
There are very few women in the central committee and
politburo and not one on the powerful standing committee.
The only politburo members are Pampha Bhusal and
Hisila Yami, who faces disciplinary action. On the central
committee, the remaining women members are Jayapuri
of the People's War" in Michael Hutt (ed), Himalayan People's
War' (London, 2004), pp. 152-65.
99 "Appeal ofthe C.P.N. (Maoist)", op. cit.
100 Common Minimum Policy and Program ofthe URPC.
101 Ibid.
102 Mandira Sharma and Dinesh Prasain, op. cit, p. 154.
103 Yami and Bhattarai, op. cit, p. 66.
104 Parvati, "Women's Participation in People's Army", The
Worker, No. 9, February 2004.
Gharti, Uma Bhujel, Kumari Moktan and Rekha Sharma
(who is also apparently under disciplinary action). As
many observers commented at the time, the lack of women
on the Maoist negotiating team during talks with the
government in 2003 seemed to belie the movement's
rhetorical commitments.
While the Maoists certainly have brought about a degree
of change in the role of women and attitudes towards them,
it has not all been positive. The most significant result of
conflict-induced rural depopulation has been that as men
have left, women have been burdened with an even larger
share of work than before. And the durability of other
reform is yet to be tested. As one report, which details
many Maoist-led improvements, cautions, "...change
seems to have taken place due to Maoist action or threat
of action. Only through continuous reinforcement of these
positive practices by local people will they become
sustainable social norms and values".105
4.       Prospects
The Maoists' early gains in public image and sympathy
have not been sustained; most observers believe they have
been significantly eroded during a period when the public
has come to view all the actors in the conflict ~ the
monarchy, the Maoists and the political parties — in an
increasingly harsh light. When asked what popular support
the Maoists might enjoy, a veteran communist activist
said, "four or five years back they might even have won
50 per cent in a vote, two years ago maybe 20 or 30 per
cent, but now I don't think they'd even get 10 per cent".106
Such assessments are based on the perception that the
innocent idealism which encouraged passive support for
the Maoists in the earlier stages of the conflict has worn
off as the movement has shown continued brutality
without delivering on its seemingly progressive agenda.
The Maoists have been more successful at mobilising
support in rural areas than in the towns. The urban revolt
called for by the "Prachandapath" strategy adopted in
2001 has proved a damp squib.107 Even radical students
in the towns and cities still prefer to work within the
mainstream parties, and the Maoists have not made any
major breakthrough in general backing. The relative
ease with which the royal government since February
2005 has broken the power ofthe Maoist bandh (general
strike) in Kathmandu indicates the lack of committed
support in the capital.
Mukta S. Lama-Tamang, Sumitra M. Gurung, Dharma
Swarnakar and Sita Rana Magar, "Social Change in Conflict
Affected Areas: Assessment Report", prepared for the UK
Department for International Development, August 2003, p. 23.
106 Crisis Group interview, New Delhi, April 2005.
107 See section V. A.2 below for an outline of Prachandapath.
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Page 17
Meanwhile, the increased resort to coercive recmitment
seems to indicate the hollowness of the Maoist support
base. This does not necessarily affect their ability to
continue fighting — for that they only need to sustain their
core cadre of guerrillas and political workers — but it may
affect their strategy and their calculations on the benefits
or drawbacks of entering electoral politics.
The Maoists have managed to find sufficient resources to
maintain the various facets of their movement. Fighters
have been provided with weapons and ammunition, and
the political campaign has been sustained with significant
funding. It is not possible to give a full picture of Maoist
resource mobilisation but the following sections outline
their pattern of operation.
1.       Finances
The CPN(M) is Nepal's richest political party. Accurately
estimating Maoist income and expenditure is difficult,
primarily because ofthe nature ofthe movement itself
but also because much oftheir support, such as forced
donations for food or accommodation, comes in kind rather
than cash. What figures are available on Maoist finances
tend to be scattered and not always reliable. Most income
is dedicated to running the party and military activities, of
which supporting thousands of full-time workers forms
a large proportion. Little money seems to be allotted
to building administrative capacities or carrying out
development work.
According to a study based on direct interviews with
Maoist fighters, it costs Rs. 17,000 (approximately $250)
annually to provide one armed guerrilla with clothes and
other basic necessities.108 This excludes the cost of food,
accommodation, weapons and ammunition and medical
treatment which, whether in cash or kind, add up to many
times this amount. Other sources agree that guerrillas are
not paid a salary but are given a monthly allowance of Rs.
150 per month (just over $2) for basic items such as soap
and toothpaste.109
Given the scale of the Maoist movement, the resources
needed to sustain its political and military operations are
on a scale far beyond that of any other party. Even in early
2002, a former Maoist district commander estimated that
"the Maoists need to spend about Rs. 10 million (almost
$150,000) every month to keep the war going: for
Ujir Magar, "Maobadiko yuddha kharcha", Nepal, 4 July
109 Rajendra Dahal and Mohan Mainali (ed.), Bandukko bojh
(Kathmandu, 2004), p. 101.
the upkeep of their own guerrilla force, logistics and
hardware".110 This did not include political and
administrative expenses, and the movement has grown
significantly in the past three years.
The Maoists' main sources of funds are bank robbery,
donations and extortion.111 Of these, the former has
become more difficult as banks have increased security,
and in most rural districts all deposits are moved to army
bases at night for safekeeping.112 Nevertheless, raids
continue, with the Maoists claiming to have netted almost
$6,000 in one bank robbery in June 2005 in Bardiya
district.113 Despite a crackdown on Maoist fundraising
since February 2005, extortion continues.114 Secret
contributors to the Maoists include not only businessmen,
industrialists and traders but also senior politicians and
civil servants.115 In the rural areas under their sway, the
Maoists collect "taxes" from individuals with a cash
income, such as teachers,116 and seasonal donations in
kind, such as portions ofthe harvest, from farmers. Rates
of "tax" on incomes vary from 5 to 25 per cent.117 Tourism
has also become a source of cash for the Maoists, who levy
compulsory contributions on trekkers of most popular
mountain routes.
As the insurgency has progressed, Maoist networks in
India and overseas have tried to build up their own
fundraising capacity. It is impossible to estimate the
significance of these, and most funds channelled into
the country would, like the vast majority of regular
remittances, follow unofficial routes. But Maoists based
in Western Europe say they have been able to raise funds
individually or through support organisations.118 In
Pushkar Gautam, "Red Tenor", Nepali Times, 8 February
111 From bank robberies between February 1996 and May
2003 alone, the Maoists are estimated to have seized over $4.6
million in cash and precious metals (Dahal and Mainali, op.
cit, p. 105).
112 Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu and other districts,
January-May 2005.
113 "Simultaneous Commando Attack in District Headquarter",
Krishna Sen News Agency, 10 June 2005.
114 "Rebel Surrenders, 5 Extortionists Nabbed", The
Kathmandu Post, 26 April 2005.
115 Crisis Group interview with a security official, Kathmandu,
December 2004.
116 According to the Nepal National Teacher's Organisation,
there are almost 143,000 teachers employed in government
schools in Nepal, of whom the majority work in rural areas
and are forced to pay 5 to 25 per cent oftheir monthly salary.
See, Dahal and Mainali, op. cit, p. 105.
117 Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu, January 2005.
118 Crisis Group interviews with Maoist cadres in London,
Brussels and Frankfurt, January-February 2005. Interviewees
were not willing to comment on the amounts involved.
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Page 18
comparison to external sources, the amounts raised from
among Maoist cadres themselves are minimal.
Apart from centralised efforts, the Maoist regional
autonomous governments have been instructed to seek
financial self-sufficiency by raising their own levies.
This has led to the identification of natural resources as
potential revenue opportunities. As the head ofthe Seti-
Mahakali government explains, "the resources for ranning
our government come from taxes on the natural resources
available in our region (such as herbs and timber), trade
duties and voluntary contributions from various
professionals and the ordinary working population".119
Medicinal herbs are a particularly lucrative option in the
Rapti, Bheri and Karnali regions, where one people's
government official claimed that the then "special district
people's government" brought in more than $7,300
The seasonal trade in valuable yarcha gumba is especially
profitable. In 2003, a Maoist cadre claimed that tax had
been collected in Dolpa on 1,300 kilograms of yarcha
gumba at a rate of $74 per kilogram. One international
official reported Maoist earnings on yarcha gumba
exported to India from Darchula district in the summer of
2004 to be in the range of $600,000.121 The Maoists have
also been accused of profiting from trade in marijuana.
The U.S. has stated that "Maoist guerrillas are involved in
drag smuggling to finance their insurgency.... [Nepal's]
Narcotic Drug Control Law Enforcement Unit reports
that the Maoists levy a 40 per cent tax on cannabis
production in certain areas".122 However, any income
from narcotics is likely to be minimal and, given that Nepal
is not a producer of hard drags, unlikely to develop into a
major source. Fears that Nepal will follow a Latin American
or Afghan model of narco-insurgency are unfounded.
The Maoists have proved more than proficient in
marshalling sufficient resources to sustain their campaign
to date, primarily by illegal and coercive means. The fact
that they do not, as far as can be ascertained, rely on
significant inputs from overseas makes them more resilient
as there is no simple cash pipeline that can be cut off. But
it also affects their strategy: as long as they depend
on living off a percentage of Nepal's overall economic
turnover, they have no incentive to undermine the
economy dramatically. A total collapse, or the destruction
Interview withLekhraj Bhatta, Janadesh, 20 April 2004.
120 Interview with Samil Pun Magar, member of then special
district people's government, Janadesh, 11 May 2004.
121 Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, September 2004.
122 "International Narcotics Control Strategy Report", Annual
Report of U.S. Bureau for International Narcotics and Law
Enforcement Affairs, March 2005, http://www.state.gOv/g/inl/rls/
of particular industries such as tourism, would have serious
knock-on effects for the Maoists' own income. Ironically,
therefore, the Maoists have an important stake in ensuring
that the economy continues to function.
As national dependence on income from migrant workers
in other Asian countries and the Mddle East increases, the
Maoists appear to be concentrating on claiming a proportion
of remittances. Meanwhile, the Nepali government
unintentionally helps to sustain the Maoists, with
proportions of education, health and rural development
budgets regularly finding their way into the CPN(M)'s
coffers. And the Maoists' generally conciliatory attitude
towards international aid is likely to continue: not only do
internationally funded development projects deliver some
services to rural areas that the Maoists are incapable of
managing themselves, but they also disburse large cash
budgets that the Maoists are adept at tapping into. Funding
a movement of the size and geographical extent that the
Maoists have created is not easy but there is no sign that a
lack of income alone will prove a decisive factor in
weakening the insurgency.
2.       Weaponry
When the Maoists started their armed struggle, they had
no organised military force to speak of and no real
weaponry. According to Maoist leader Rabindra Shrestha,
at the outset they had only two rifles, one of which was
broken.123 But as the Maoists stepped up their campaign,
they started making their own muskets, taking licensed
shotguns and other weapons from local residents and
capturing the .303 rifles ofthe police. More recently they
have enhanced their arsenal, primarily by capturing
weapons from the security forces, to include sophisticated
automatic weapons, explosives and mortars. Prachanda
states that, "in the process of waging war we managed to
snatch [a] few rifles from the armed police. It is these rifles
that are now capturing automatic weapons from the royal
army. Thus weapons sent by George Bush to suppress
Nepalese people will soon be reaching the hands of
Nepalese people, which will be directed against
imperialism".124 Estimates ofthe exact number of weapons
they hold vary significantiy.125
Rabindra  Shrestha,  "Janayuddhaka suruka dinharu
samjhanda", Janadesh, 22 May 2001.
124 Interview with Prachanda, Maoist Information Bulletin-4,
Occasional Bulletin of CPN(M), 15 September 2003.
125 For example, see Sadip Bahadur Shah "Bhavishyahin
vidroh", Samay, 30 December 2004. Shah a retired RNA
lieutenant general, estimated the Maoists have a total of 3,295
weapons: 322 self-loading rifles; 132 sub-machine guns; 42
light machine guns; four general purpose machine guns; 56
Indian-made INSAS rifles; nine M16 rifles; 1,370 .303 rifles;
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The Maoists have also purchased arms, in particular from
the black market in the neighbouring Indian states of Bihar
and Uttar Pradesh, where there is a flourishing trade in
illegal weapons. They had concentrated on buying
detonators, explosives and bullets rather than guns but
there is some evidence that they have also brought in AK-
47 assault rifles, which some analysts suspect are from
north east India.126 A large arms seizure in the Bangladeshi
port of Chittagong in April 2004 caused various observers
to speculate that Nepal's Maoists were the intended end-
The Maoists have skilled bomb-makers who initially
devoted their efforts to refining various types of homemade
explosives — socket bombs, pipe bombs, pressure cooker
bombs ~ and gradually became more skilled in
electronically detonated landmines. They have also used
Indian army grenades, which may have been obtained on
the black market. While their main source of weapons has
tended to be the state security forces themselves, there are
indications that their needs for fresh ammunition and
explosives are met primarily from smuggling across the
border with India. According to the Maoists, they have
brought equipment from abroad in order to set up factories
to produce high quality weaponry inside Nepal.128
Their general approach, however, has been to avoid
unnecessary escalation in armaments.129 While they were
only fighting with the police, they were happy to rely
primarily on weapons looted from police posts. It is since
engaging with the RNA that they have sought to increase
their stock of semi-automatic and automatic weapons and
resorted to foreign purchases. The basic personal weapons
of most guerrillas are SLRs, .303 rifles and muskets,
while political commissars, senior officers and leaders opt
for Chinese pistols, mostly looted from the police.130 The
two Galil rifles; 25 AK-47s; five rocket launchers; ten 2-inch
mortars; three 81mm mortars; 215 pistols and revolvers; 331
shotguns; 22 rifles; and 369 homemade guns. These figures
are not independently verified and seem low given the widely
accepted estimates for the number of Maoist guerrillas and
militia members.
126 Crisis Group interview with an intelligence official,
Kathmandu, December 2004. Also see Sitaram Baral, "San
AK-47ko", Samay 13 May 2004, which states that the Maoists
imported AK-47 rifles bought on the Indian black market and
distributed them in limited numbers to battalions.
127 "Arms Cache Was on Way to Third Country", The Daily
Star, Bangladesh 4 April 2004.
128 Some weapons factories in Chitwan, Kailali and Rolpa were
seized by the security forces in 2004.
129 Interview with Prachanda, Maoist Information Bulletin-4,
Occasional Bulletin of CPN(M), 15 September 2003.
130 "Small Arms in Nepal: an Overview", Deepak Thapa and
Sudheer Sharma, paper presented at national workshop on
government's published policy on Maoist surrender from
2003, which offers rewards for handing over weapons,
indicates the range of armaments it believes the Maoists
possess.131 One crucial difference that gives the Maoists
an edge over the RNA in certain situations is that their
weapons come from a variety of flexible sources. The
RNA's highly specialised hardware requirements make it
dependent on a few official sources and so vulnerable to
supply constraints.
While the Maoists have developed their own training
methods they were initially reliant on guidance from Indian
insurgent groups.132 They are still far from reaching the
standards of professionalism that a regular army would
expect. "They seem to know what they're doing with their
basic tactics when it comes to ambushes", observed a
British military expert, "but they're still a rag-tag bunch
that should be no match for a decent army".133
The Maoists have benefited from increasingly
sophisticated communications technology, from radios
and satellite phones to email and internet. It is estimated
that they are the largest users of satellite phones in the
country.134 They have also exploited the growth in mobile
phone connectivity: suspicions that they had purchased
many pre-paid mobile SIM cards was the main justification
cited for the continued suspension of this service following
the royal coup of February 2005. However, in the
period immediately following the coup the Maoist
communications network appeared to be functioning
better than that of the government. While some Nepali
diplomatic missions were cut off from all home news,135
Maoists in Europe were receiving regular updates by
satellite phone.136 They also use radio sets and cordless
telephones adapted to function as walkie-talkies.
The turn to e-mail and internet started in November 2001.
Following the breakdown of the ceasefire, the Maoists'
unofficial mouthpiece, the weekly newspaper Janadesh,
was shut down and its journalists went underground.
"South Asia and Small Anns: Challenges and Responses",
organised by SAP Nepal in Kathmandu, 10 April 2001.
131 "Government's Policy for Surrender", HMG Nepal, 18
December 2003, which claims the Maoists had 81mm, 40 mm
and two- inch mortars, GPMGs, LMGs, SLRs, SMGs, M-16
rifles, INSAS rifles, Magnums, shotguns, Galils, .303 rifles,
pistols, revolvers, airguns, home made guns, etc.
132 Sudheer Sharma, "Purvi himalayama ashantiko ago", Himal,
14-28 May 2001.
133 Crisis Group interview with retired senior British army
officer, December 2004.
134 Crisis Group interviews with security officials, Kathmandu,
March 2005.
135 Crisis Group interviews with diplomats, London, Brussels
and Geneva, February 2005.
136 Crisis Group interviews, Western Europe, February 2005.
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While print publications were maintained clandestinely,
the growing use ofthe internet in Nepal led to the Maoists
adopting it as a primary means of communication.137 The
faxing of press statements to selected journalists was
gradually overtaken by e-mail distribution within the
country and far beyond. Maoist political and news websites
collect press releases and offer access to online versions
of Maoist publications in Nepali and English. According
to one researcher, "Nepal's Maoists are the first among all
of the world's communist movements to make good use
of communications technology".138
Maoist relations with the media will be the subject of
future Crisis Group reporting.
138 Berth Lintner, "Natra yuddha lambinchha", Nepal,  17
September-1 October 2002.
The Maoists have laid to rest the myth that Nepal is a
peaceful country whose citizens are naturally averse to
violence. They have forcefully maintained that violence has
been at the heart ofthe capture and exercise of state power
throughout Nepal's history.139 Their own armed struggle
has dramatically demonstrated its viability in the face of
initial expert indifference and scepticism, although the
question of whether it can ever attain success is still open.
For the Maoists, the justification of violence is not difficult.
Mao's most influential early work, on the peasant uprising
in his home province of Hunan, led him to a lengthy
explanation ofthe rationale for bloodshed:
.. .a revolution is not the same as inviting people to
dinner or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or
doing fancy needlework; it cannot be anything
so refined, so calm and gentle, or so mild, kind,
courteous, restrained, and magnanimous. A
revolution is an uprising, an act of violence whereby
one class overthrows another. A rural revolution is
a revolution by which the peasantry overthrows the
authority ofthe feudal landlord class. Ifthe peasants
do not use the maximum oftheir strength, they can
never overthrow the authority ofthe landlords,
which has been deeply rooted for thousands of
He further asserted that in Hunan, "it was necessary to
bring about a brief reign of terror in every rural area.... To
right a wrong it is necessary to exceed the proper limit,
and the wrong cannot be righted without the proper limit
being exceeded".141 Nepal's Maoists subscribe to this
basic outiook and argue that Nepali history supports their
The policy on armed struggle adopted by the CPN(M)'s
third plenum in March 1995 asserted that:
The reactionary propaganda that the Nepalese
people are peace-loving and that they don't like
violence is absolutely false. It is an incontrovertible
fact that the Nepalese people have been waging
violent struggle for their rights since...historical
times. Till today whatever general reforms have
been achieved by the Nepalese people, behind them
there was the force of violent and illegal struggle
ofthe people.142
"Strategy and Tactics of Armed Straggle in Nepal", op. cit.
140 Mao Zedong, "Report of an Investigation into the Peasant
Movement in Hunan to the Central Committee of the Chinese
Communist Party", February 1927, reprinted in Jacobs and
Baerwald, op. cit, p. 23.
141 Ibid.
142 "Strategy and Tactics of Armed Straggle in Nepal", op. cit.
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This point was reinforced by Prachanda in a separate
essay: "People have not obtained even the least of gains
without waging violent struggles. Today, the Nepalese
society has arrived at such a point of crisis under the
existing political system that there is no alternative on the
part ofthe people other than to smash it".143
The Maoists judged that the grounds for mobilisation were
strong: "From the year 1951 onwards till today, mainly
the Nepalese peasants and other sections of the people
have been joining in [a] countiess number of violent and
armed conflicts against the reactionary state, and the anti-
establishment feeling among Nepalese people has been
very strong". The CPN(M) presented the new armed
struggle as the chance to complete a long-running
struggle and to represent a "great historical legacy".144
The Maoist strategy, therefore, is based on armed struggle,
and the growth of their political influence can largely be
attributed to their military strength. The targets of their
violence have been determined by the progressive stages
ofthe conflict. The first aim was to eliminate obstacles to
their political hegemony in rural areas, which led them to
attack the state, primarily police posts, and rival political
workers. The latter were far harder hit in the initial stages:
in the first year of the war only six police were killed
while some three dozen civilian "enemies of the people"
were murdered.145
The Maoists' political victims have been carefully selected.
Up to July 2000 the vast majority (136) were Congress
workers; the UML (22), RPP (19) and Masai (1) were
secondary targets.146 Once the RNA was deployed and
the war assumed a more conventional military aspect,
the Maoists concentrated their attacks on military targets
and the proportion of civilian killings fell.147 In contrast,
state attacks on civilians increased,148 to the extent that
mounting domestic and international pressure forced the
RNA to discipline 44 soldiers for rights violations.149
Both sides, in short, have been fighting a dirty war.150
Prachanda, "War Policy of Nepalese New Democratic
Revolution in the Context of Historical Development" in
Problems and Prospects of Revolution in Nepal (Janadisha
Publications, 2004).
144 "Strategy and Tactics of Armed Straggle inNepal", op. cit.
145 Prachanda, press statement, 12 February 1997.
146 Report ofthe High Level Recommendation Committee on
Resolution of the Maoist Problem, His Majesty's Government
ofNepal,2000,p. 65.
147 Sitaram Baral, "Morchabaddha ladain", Samay 30 December
148 Subash Devkota, "Sankatma sankatkal", Samay, 21 April
149 Yashoda Timsina, "Kaivafiima pare sipahi", Nepal, 17 April
150 See Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, Nepal: Dealing with a
Human Rights Crisis, 24 March 2005. There is also a question
The CPN(M) adopted at its unification convention in
1991 the strategy of protracted war based on encircling
the towns from the countryside. This concept was proposed
by Prachanda and endorsed by the convention but it only
took concrete form three years later. The third extended
meeting ofthe party, in March 1995, adopted the following
plans for putting the theory of people's war into practice:
.. .give priority to the rural work, but do not leave
urban work; give priority to illegal struggle, but do
not leave legal struggle too; give priority to specific
strategic areas, but do not leave work related to
mass movement too; give priority to class struggle
in villages, but do not leave countrywide struggle
too; give priority to guerrilla actions, but do not
leave political exposure and propaganda too; give
priority to propaganda work within the country but
do not leave worldwide propaganda too; give
priority to build army organisation, but do not leave
to build front organisations too; give priority to rely
on one's own organisation and force, but do not
miss to forge unity in action, to take support and
help from international arena...151
People's war was the essence ofthe Chinese communists'
military doctrine, advocated mainly by Mao Zedong and
codified by him in numerous writings.152 The basic
elements ofthe original Chinese version of "people's war"
are : (1) the key objective and the highest form of revolution
is to mobilise and arm the people to seize political power;
(2) the key factor in winning a battle is to rely totally on
the people, for they are the solid foundation for launching
ofthe nature and definition of military targets. The Maoists until
recently enjoyed greater clarity of definition oftheir targets. The
insurgency by definition reduces the distance between its militants
and its civilian "host" population In such a situation the counter-
insurgency is at a disadvantage. Lately the RNA has started
emulating the Maoists by moving about in civilian clothes and
civilian transport. Its troops have also reportedly been dressing
up in Maoist combat gear in an effort to fool local people, but
the fact that they have frequently been exposed by victims of
RNA excesses suggests this ploy has not been very successful.
The theatre of war has been transformed to some extent but
the RNA as outsiders cannot match the Maoists on this terrain.
151 Nekapa maobadika aitihasik dastavejharu vol. 1, Central
Publications Department, CPN (Maoist), pp. 84-85.
152 Mao's most influential military writings include "Problems
of Strategy in China's Revolutionary War", December 1936,
Selected Works I (Beijing, 1967), pp. 154-225; "Problems of
Strategy in Guerrilla War against Japan", May 1938, Selected
Works II (Beijing, 1967), pp. 373-406; "On Protracted War",
May 1938, Selected Works II, pp. 407-84; and "Problems of
War and Strategy", 11 November 1938, Selected Works II, pp.
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war; (3) establish the people's army mainly with peasants;
(4) unite the major and local forces with the guerrilla
forces and militia; (5) establish solid revolutionary bases
at places where the enemy is weak and where there are
geographic advantages; and (6) utilise the strategies of
people's war because they are suitable to revolutionary
war and provide accurate guidance for fighting a war.153
Mao's core concept ofthe protracted war is that it is:
a war fought without hope of victory within
measurable time but based on maintaining at all
times the unity of army and people. It is the duty
of the army, in Mao's view, so to politicise the
population among which it fights that it not only
draws from it men, supplies and information that it
needs for combat, but also transforms the cultural
and political structure of society step by step with
the military success it wins. Revolution, thus, comes
about not after, and as a result of victory, but through
the process of war itself. Hence his best known
slogan, with its very distinct meaning, "power flows
out ofthe barrel of a gun".154
The two sides are, therefore, fighting two different types
of war in which the very concepts of victory and defeat,
success and failure are reversed. The RNA is fighting a
war of territory but the Maoists are fighting for something
very different.
In China Mao divided the process of people's revolution
into three stages — strategic defence, strategic balance and
strategic offence ~ a structure followed by the Nepali
Maoists, at least in theory, throughout their armed
campaign. Following the August 2004 CPN(M) central
committee plenary, it was announced that the Maoists had
entered the final ofthe three stages, adopting the slogan
"let us raise the process of revolutionary transformation to
new heights and enter into the stage of strategic offence".155
Whether this declaration reflects reality is discussed below.
In any case, the Maoists have always emphasised that the
course oftheir struggle will neither be straightforward nor
simply replicate existing models:
The war will develop according to its own laws,
not in a straight line but in a complex zigzag path.
It is necessary to acknowledge the importance of
Lenin's saying that the revolution always creates in
its course of development an unusual and complex
situation. The People's War will triumph after going
through cycles of victory and defeat and gain and
153 Kwok-SingLi, op. cit, p. 341.
154 JKeeganand A. Wheatcroft, Who's Who in Military History
(New York, 1976), p. 209.
155 Prachanda, press statement about the plenum, 1 September
loss. We shall be able to lead the People's War only
by correctiy grasping the law of contradiction, of
transformation of wrong into right.156
At the start of their campaign, they warned that the war
would be "quite uphill, full of twists and turns and of a
protracted nature".157 But while "making use of all forms
of struggle", they would stick principally to "the strategy
of encircling the city from the countryside, with agrarian
revolution as the axis and from the midst of and in
conjunction with the rural class struggle".158
In fact, much Maoist strategy is simply military
commonsense, albeit codified by Mao on the basis of
particular experience. Most insurgencies, whether
consciously or not, adopt Maoist-style tactics of guerrilla
warfare. Prachanda has argued that Prithvinarayan Shah's
campaign to unite Nepal in the mid-eighteenth century
illustrates the central features of Maoist protracted war
1.       Strategic defence
The attacks carried out by the Maoists to launch the
"people's war" clearly indicated their political and
revolutionary priorities. The armed struggle was launched
on 13 February 1996 with surprise attacks on police posts
in the western districts of Rolpa and Rukum and the eastern
district of Sindhuh. In Rolpa the fighting lasted for a few
hours, while in Rukum and Sindhuh the police handed
over their weapons without a struggle. In Gorkha district
the Maoists underlined their political intent by attacking
Chyangling village's Agricultural Development Bank and
Small Farmer's Development Project and burning papers
relating to loans.
They also signalled their moralistic agenda with an attack
on Gorkha's Manakamana Distillery. On the same night
their petrol bomb attack on the Pepsi Cola factory on the
outskirts of Kathmandu showed that they had multinational
corporations in their sights and were willing to strike in
the capital as well as the more remote rural areas. It was
only after five days that the Maoists formally claimed
responsibility for these attacks in a statement from
At first glance these attacks were not terribly violent — no
lives were lost — but they were intended as a sign ofthe
"Theoretical Premises for the Historic Initiation of the
People's War", op. cit.
157 "Appeal ofthe C.P.N. (Maoist)", op. cit.
158 Ibid.
159 Prachanda, "War Policy of Nepalese New Democratic
Revolution in the Context of Historical Development", in
Problems and Prospects, op. cit.
160 Press statement, 18 February 1996.
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determination ofthe Maoists to pursue a sustained armed
uprising. In the words of one leftist analyst, "those events
gave birth to a completely new possibility in terms ofthe
construction of military force. In fact this was a new
undertaking in the Nepali class war that had never before
occurred in the country's history".161 However, these
apparently minor and scattered events in a handful of
districts did little to shake the political establishment
in Kathmandu.
The first, defensive stage took some five years and
involved a progression through six distinct working plans
which were adapted to developing circumstances.162
2.       The New Line: Prachandapath
After five years of armed struggle, the Maoists carried out
a full assessment oftheir progress. They had established
at least temporary base areas in a number of districts,163
and the party's influence had grown at an unprecedented
rate. But these successes brought their own problems.
The base area policy was clearly not emulating the
revolutionary Chinese model, and the rapid expansion
of cadres and activities led to organisational challenges. It
was time to re-examine strategy.
The Maoists' second national convention, held at a secret
location in February 2001, was the first mass meeting of
the party since the start of the armed insurgency. The
outcome was adoption of a new line that was given the
name "Prachandapath". Proposed by Prachanda himself
in his political report, it was ratified along with a change
to the party constitution which resulted in his appointment
as chairman.164 The new strategy basically called for more
focus on urban insurrection while continuing the build-up
in rural areas and working to surround the towns.
The need for a change was justified by the argument that
no single established model of proletarian revolution could
still be appropriate given changing global conditions.165
The initial faith that "protracted people's war" was suited
to Nepal's situation was undermined by a growing
Govinda Neupane, "Nepali samajko rapantaran: prishtabhumi,
parivesh ra vyuhrachana", Kathmandu, Centre for Development
Studies, 2001, p. 113.
162 These "working plans" can also be translated as "tactical
plans/stages". The Nepali term is karyanitikyojana. See Thapa,
op. cit, pp. 99-102.
163 The Maoists started to declare "District Peoples Governments"
in Rukum in January 2001.
164 The fundamental tenets of Prachandapath were set out in the
political report passed by the convention, "Mahan agragami
chhalang: itihasko apariharya avashyakta", CPN(M) Central
Publications Department 2001. The report also laid out detailed
strategic and tactical guidelines.
165 CPN(M) press statement, 25 February 2001.
realisation that a decades-long struggle along Chinese
lines was unlikely to be successful. Doubts that a slow
build-up in rural areas would lead in itself to a decisive
revolution led to a marrying of Maoist and Leninist tactics:
the "people's war" in the villages would be complemented
by a push for "people's rebellion" in towns and cities.
In some respects this was not so new. The policy ofthe
CPN (Unity Centre) in 1991 had acknowledged that, "in
the specificities of our country and the current world
situation, the significance of urban mass movements has
definitely increased".166 Given the experience ofthe 1990
people's movement, whose success had hinged on the
final mobilisation in the capital itself, it is not surprising
that the Maoists also acknowledged the value of targeting
the centre of power more directiy.
Baburam Bhattarai described Prachandapath as a school
of thought that was more than a set of tactics but less than
an ideology.167 But the personalisation ofthe new strategy
by its direct linkage to Prachanda himself raised hackles
within the party and among other communists.168 Mohan
Vaidya (Kiran) has made grand claims for the new line:
"Prachandapath is now standing in a new turning point
of history to make a qualitative leap in the process of
becoming universal, not particular".169 But Krishna Bahadur
Mahara has said: "It is learned from the experience of
Russia, China and others...We haven't given up Marx,
Lenin and Mao but we don't want to take it as dogma. We
want a 21st-century democracy in which the people
supervise the state so that people with money cannot
control the elections. We want transparency and equal
opportunities for all parties".170
The new policy incorporating urban insurrection
recognised that in a highly centralised country such as
Nepal it would be hard for rural actions alone to put serious
pressure on the state. Ifthe Maoist revolution were to
progress, there would have to be new ways of bringing the
struggle directly to Kathmandu, where state power was
concentrated. A range of tactics for urban insunection was
proposed: to make continuous interventions in national
politics, to use fraternal organisations to carry out strikes
and street demonstrations, to foment revolt within the RNA
and to seek to polarise sympathetic and opposed political
forces. As these tactics were primarily non-violent, they
were used during the first ceasefire of 2001. On 21
166 Political Line of CPN (Unity Centre).
167 Baburam Bhattarai, "Dosro rashtriya sammelanko yugantakari
mahattva", Kantipur, 1 March 2001.
168 See, for example, Pradip Gyawali, Prachandapath: vicharko
kendrikaran ki bhrashtikaran (Kathmandu, 2001).
169 Kiran, "Philosophical Concept of I'rachanda Path", December
2003, at
170 Isabel Hilton, "The King and Mao", Financial Times, 14
May 2005.
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September 2001 the Maoists had planned to organise a
large anti-monarchist demonstration in Kathmandu but
this was blocked by the government.
Much of the Maoists' effort went into developing their
student front, which carefully targeted the inefficiencies
and inequities of the education system, in particular the
fee-paying private schools. The Maoists also used non-
political riots in the Tarai towns of Butwal and Biratnagar,
major industrial and trade centres, to further their political
penetration. Immediately afterwards the Kathmandu valley
erupted in riots following allegations that Indian film star
Hrithik Roshan had made derogatory comments about
Nepal. The Maoists were active in fomenting the unrest
and in enforcing a two-day nationwide general strike.
But despite these efforts to create urban instability and
political division, the Maoist strategy of urban insunection
has not demonstrated the ability to mobilise enough support
to make its threat of revolution in the cities appear realistic.
It has employed sometimes conflicting tactics — trying to
show a presence in the capital through bomb explosions
and killings while at the same time holding out the
possibility of collaboration with mainstream parties.
The political balance required to make Prachandapath
successful is difficult and depends upon driving a wedge
between the "constitutional forces" ofthe mainstream
political parties and the monarchy. The Maoists know that
to launch a successful mass movement against the
monarchy they will have to cultivate links with sympathetic
elements within the political mainstream. At the same time
they will have to weaken the monarchy's grip on power,
primarily through encouraging rebellion within the RNA,
which remains loyal to the king. This is not an easy
proposition. "If we can encourage the fracturing ofthe
royal army, then the strategy of popular uprising will be
successful", says a central Maoist leader, "but this will
take some time".171 The combination of "people's war"
and urban uprising strategies for revolution has not been
tested elsewhere and offers no guarantee of success. Maoist
leaders and workers acknowledge that Prachandapath will
prove its validity only by success.172
3.       Strategic balance
The central goal in achieving strategic balance is to reduce
the capacity and influence of the state while building up
an alternative govemment-in-waiting. It requires the
development of military capacity sufficient to hold one's
own against opposing forces, though not necessarily
equality. As always in Maoist doctrine, it is not the number
of troops or range oftheir equipment that counts but the
Crisis Group interview, Frankfurt, 15 February 2005.
: Crisis Group interviews, Kathmandu, January 2005.
ways in which tactics can be employed to make the most
of existing capabilities and put the enemy on the wrong
foot. The Maoists claim they reached the stage of strategic
balance from the start oftheir direct confrontation with the
RNA in November 2001,173 following the breakdown of
the first ceasefire and the abandonment of abortive talks.
By then the Maoists felt that they had weakened the "old
regime" to the extent that their "new regime" would start
to be seen as an equivalent force. They marked entry to
this stage with a "general offensive" involving audacious
simultaneous attacks on multiple targets, including army
At that point, the RNA's assessment of Maoist strategy was:
"Establishment of bases in rural areas in order to encircle
the towns and cities and finally encircle Kathmandu valley.
For this they are carrying out ambushes and other terrorist
activities...and strengthening their organisation".174 The
Maoists attempted to reduce the state's reach through attacks
on police posts to force withdrawal; attacks on mainstream
party activists to eliminate political competition; attacks
on local government bodies and forced resignations of
officers; attacks on infrastructure to reduce the state's
delivery capacity; and the intimidation and cooption of
remaining institutions and civil servants, such as teachers.
These tactics, helped by the state's ineffective response,
were first notably successful earlier in the mid-westem
Maoist "heartland" districts of Rolpa, Rukum, Salyan,
Jajarkot, Kalikot and Pyuthan. As state presence was
reduced there ~ a clearly visible trend by 1999 — the
abandoned countryside fell largely under Maoist sway.
The escalation of the military conflict following the
mobilisation of the RNA during the state of emergency
declared in November 2001 only hastened this process.
By early 2004 the Maoists asserted that the formation of
the URPC and the declaration of regional autonomous
Prachanda, "Present Situation and Our Historical Task",
The Worker No. 9, February 2004. (Document presented by
Prachanda and adopted by the CPN(M) central committee in
May 2003.)
174 Royal Nepalese Army, "Brief to US Assistant Secretary
of State Christina Rocca", 17 December 2003, available at
tm. This document was leaked and published by a Maoist
website; despite much press coverage, the RNA did not
challenged its authenticity. The RNA's categorisation of the
tactics employed by the Maoists to achieve their goals was: "(a)
Sabotage of government and civilian properties; (b) Assassination
of security forces, political, and other high ranking officials; (c)
Urban tenorism (so-called urban guerrilla warfare); (d) Cany
out extortion; (e) Attack soft targets (lightly held police posts,
check points); (f) Ambushes (they say that would be carrying
out 150 to 300 ambushes at a time...); (g) Cany out so-called
decentralised operations and strengthen for centralised ops".
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 25
people's governments had "immensely contributed to
consolidate the Base Areas and to prepare for impending
strategic offensive through the country".175 However,
whether the Maoists have ever been successful in creating
base areas is open to differing interpretations. The classical
Maoist definition of a base area is a region where the
presence ofthe "reactionary state" is entirely eliminated,
and there is a genuine attempt to exercise "new people's
According to the principles developed by Mao and the
Chinese Communist Party during their struggle for power,
five conditions are essential to the creation of functional
base areas: an extensive and reliable popular support base,
a communist party guided by correct principles and solid
organisation, a powerful people's army, suitable terrain
for military action and sufficient economic resources to
support the population.177
According to Baburam Bhattarai, base areas are bordered
by "guerrilla areas" where Maoist and state military control
are in flux. Base areas are a more stable and developed
form of such guerrilla areas. Beyond both of these is the
area of state control, which should be subjected to repeated
guerrilla incursions and attacks; this he defines as the
"guerrilla action region".178 When asked in an interview,
"where is your Yenan?",179 Prachanda replied: "All ofthe
country's rural areas have become Nepal's Yenan".180
In fact the Maoists had acknowledged even before the
launch ofthe people's war that because ofthe prevailing
conditions, "it is not found possible for the armed struggle
in Nepal to survive independently in certain specific
areas, to expand from there just as in China's Ching-Kang
Shan".181 According to a leftist analyst who was once a
colleague ofthe Maoists, the CPN(M) has realised that
the process of rural advance towards building "liberated
areas" will never create decisive military momentum, and
the base area concept has, therefore, had to assume a
lesser role.182
175 "Autonomous People's Governments Formed", The Worker,
No. 9, February 2004.
176 Mao Zedong, "Problems of Strategy in Guerrilla War against
Japan", May 1938, available at
177 Ibid.
178 Baburam Bhattarai, Rajnaitik arthashastrako aankhijhyalbata,
(UtprerakPrakashan), 1998, p. 99.
179 Yenan was the base area and revolutionary headquarters
of the Chinese communists during their rebuilding and
consolidation phase following the Long March.
180 Om Sharma and Manarishi Dhital, interview with Prachanda,
Krishnasen Online, 2 May 2004.
181 "Strategy and Tactics of Armed Straggle inNepal", op. cit.
182 Shyam Shrestha, "Ke maobadihara pheriekai hun?", Himal
Khabarpatrika, 14-29 March 2001.
4.       From the 2003 Ceasefire to the Next Offensive
All these were factors in the decision to call a ceasefire
and talk to the government of Lokendra Bahadur Chand,
appointed by the king following his dismissal of Sher
Bahadur Deuba's elected government in October 2002.
The ceasefire was announced on 29 January 2003 and
stabilised when both sides signed a 22-point code of
conduct on 13 March.183 However, talks never reached
substantive issues, and both sides accused the other of
violating the ceasefire conditions. There are many reasons
why the negotiations failed, including a lack of technical
skills that was exacerbated by unprofessional facilitation.
Neither side was well prepared for serious discussions.
But the big political questions were the main obstacles.
The Maoists were certainly prepared for failure ofthe
talks, and they used the ceasefire for intensive political
and military development. In Kathmandu they milked the
publicity value oftheir high-ranking negotiators. Despite
public disgust at Maoist brutality, their press conferences
were well attended by journalists and onlookers straining
to get a view ofthe underground leaders, whose notoriety
had been transformed by an aura of glamour.
Their negotiating position was designed to appeal to a
mainstream audience: the proposed model of a roundtable
conference, interim government and constituent assembly
carefully avoided any reference to dictatorship ofthe
proletariat or rolling cultural revolutions.184 Meanwhile,
the declaration of successive new regional autonomous
people's governments underlined their longer term plans,
while military recruitment and training quietly continued
on a large scale.
The period following the breakdown of the talks and
ceasefire saw the most intense escalation ofthe conflict.
The international flow of military aid to the RNA, designed
to give the Maoists "a bloody nose" and force them back
to the negotiating table in a weakened position, was viewed
positively by the Maoists. They concluded that in particular
the heightened involvement of India and the U.S., but also
the supply of weaponry from Belgium and advice from
the UK, were not setbacks but had in fact "prepared a
favourable ground to raise the People's] W[ar] to the third
and higher stage of strategic offensive".185 Already in early
2004 the party leadership was preparing for that transition
"Sign 22-point code of conduct for peace talks", The
KathmanduPost, 14 March2003.
184 See Appendix F below for a summary of the CPN(M)
2003 negotiation agenda.
185 "Report From the Battlefield: The Breakdown of Ceasefire
and Resumption of Military Strike by PLA", The Worker, No.
9, February 2004.
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Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 26
and claiming that military and political progress had laid
the foundations for the next stage:
Another specificity has been the highly successful
political offensive carried out during [the] ceasefire
and negotiations by boldly presenting [a] minimum
program to bring about a progressive democratic
change in the country. This prepared [the] ground
for moving ahead towards strategic offensive and
general insurrection when the old state rejected the
political agenda put forward by the Party. In the
immediate military plan three stages were chalked
out... a plan of carrying out decentralised actions in
the first phase, relative [ly] centralised ones in the
second and big centralised ones in the third.186
While the number of Maoists the RNA claimed to have
killed since August 2003 seemed to suggest that the
guerrilla forces must be on their last legs, a proposition
widely accepted in Kathmandu diplomatic and government
circles, the Maoists struck back in March and April 2004
with devastating attacks on the district headquarters of
Bhojpur, in the eastern hills, and Beni in the west. As
always, the RNA could truthfully claim that the Maoists
did not completely overrun these towns and certainly could
not hold them, but the psychological blow was grave. The
attack on Beni demonstrated not only that the Maoists
retained the logistical and political capacity to mobilise
thousands but that their military capacity had definitely
The attack on Beni was well planned and executed on
different fronts: for perhaps the first time the Maoists
showed that they could use mortars effectively in a classic
night-time assault on a fixed defensive position, while
their detailed preparations included the commandeering
of stretchers and medical supplies and setting up of field
medical posts. This was an important military development
given the garrison nature of most RNA deployments in
rural Nepal. Very few civilians were caught in the carefully
executed assault; most had been warned by the Maoists in
advance that an attack was in preparation. What most
impressed one senior Western military expert was that the
Maoists were able at the last minute to bring forward their
timetable by 48 hours, "a remarkable feat for any army".187
On the evening following the Beni attack, Prachanda
released a press statement:
This second qualitatively successful action
immediately after the centralised action of Bhojpur
sometime ago has forcefully refuted false
propaganda spread by the enemy [about the
weakening ofthe Maoists' military strength] and
forcefully proved the development and invincibility
Crisis Group interview, Western Europe, November 2004.
of the people's war. Through decentralised actions
throughout the country and these series of latest
actions, the People's Liberation Army has established
its military supremacy over the hoodlum Royal
Army. Until the achievement of a forward-looking
political solution along with complete changes, the
series of military actions will continue.188
These major military attacks were, moreover, timed to
extract the maximum benefit from the political disarray
in Kathmandu. The king's second directly appointed
government, Surya Bahadur Thapa's, was under mounting
pressure from a joint political party protest campaign. Far
from offering a decisive strategy to take on the Maoists,
Kathmandu was more riven than ever, and the Maoists
had an embarrassment of choices for rifts to exploit. As
much as their self-proclaimed military advances, it was
the weakness and indecisiveness ofthe "old regime" that
emboldened them.
By the time they convened their August 2004 plenum in
western Nepal, Surya Bahadur Thapa had been replaced
as prime minister by Sher Bahadur Deuba. To Nepal's
international backers, the four-party coalition he cobbled
together represented the best hope for a broad-based united
front capable of giving political shape to a concerted
counter-insurgency effort. To the Maoists, the unstable
mix of opportunistic parties and palace appointees was
an invitation to move towards a decisive confrontation.
B.    One Year of Strategic Offensive
The Maoists announced the launch of their strategic
offensive on 31 August 2004.189 The first sub-stage was
defined as a strategic counter-offensive. The Maoists used
the claim of impending Indian military intervention to call
for basic military training, both offensive and defensive,
to be given to all villagers and for preparations for a
Vietnam-style "tunnel warfare".190
According to politburo member and western divisional
commander Diwakar, the Maoists had moved into the
final stage ofthe armed campaign to capture state power.
"Within this a number of planned battles must be
fought, and only at the end will we reach a [general]
insurrection".191 For the Maoists, the critical characteristic
ofthe final offensive stage is that it takes place when there
is a final polarisation and reduction of the conflict to a
clash between two opposed armies. As spokesperson
Translated in "Maoists Temporarily Seize District Capital in
Western Nepal", A World to Win News Service, 29 March 2004.
189 Prachanda, press statement, 31 August 2004.
190 Ibid.
191 Interview with CPN(M) standing committee member
Diwakar, Krishnasen Online, 28 December 2004.
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Page 27
Krishna Bahadur Mahara said in an interview in early
2005, " it is bi-polar, and the real war is now
between two armed forces — one belonging to the king
and the other to the revolutionary struggle."192
The Maoists have not specified any time period in which
to complete the strategic offensive and are cautious when it
comes to promising rapid victory. Have they overestimated
the strength of their position? Are they overextending
themselves? In contrast, by the time the Chinese
communists moved onto their final offensive, they
commanded a vast regular army and held large swathes
of territory securely.
Nepal's Maoists have certainly demonstrated their
trademark lack of modesty in claiming to be on the cusp
of a successful all-out offensive while their campaign still
faces a range of formidable obstacles. In the words of their
supporters, "in the Maoist conception, the revolutionaries
launch a 'strategic offensive' when they are able to make
their immediate aim the decisive destruction ofthe enemy's
armed forces and the establishment ofthe rule ofthe people
throughout the country".193 The weakness ofthe Nepali
state's political response to the insurgency is clear but the
Maoists hardly seem capable ofthe "decisive destruction"
ofthe RNA. Impartial military analysts agree that the RNA
cannot re-establish control over the entire country but are
equally emphatic that the state can hold its minimum
defensive positions, even if that means only district
headquarters and the capital.
The Maoists' determinedly upbeat pronouncements on
their military progress are at odds with official accounts,
which claim their fighting capacity has been decimated,
and they have suffered a succession of serious setbacks.
For example, the RNA claimed that it repelled
simultaneous attacks on security force bases in the Tarai
districts of Siraha and Dhanusha on the night of 9 May
2005, timed to coincide with the arrival in Kathmandu of
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs
Christina Rocca.194 In an interview a week later, however,
Maoist eastern divisional commander Ananta claimed that
"we were completely successful in our plan. The Mrchaiya
Unified Command barracks were captured. Bandipur was
hit and partly captured. The other two, Chorhawa and
Dharapani, were hit hard".195 According to Ananta:
Isabel Hilton, "The King and Mao", Financial Times, 14
May 2005.
193 "Maoists Temporarily Seize District Capital in Western
Nepal", A World to Win News Service, 29 March 2004.
194 "Maoist attacks in Siraha and Dhanusha, 32 rebels killed",
KantipurOnline, 10 May 2005.
195 Interview with Ananta, Janadesh, 16 May 2005, translated
in "Nepal Maoist Offensive: Four Simultaneous Assaults in
the East", A World to Win News Service, 23 May 2005.
The biggest achievement of this fighting is that it
has established the basis for positional warfare in
the days to come. The success ofthe first plan of
the strategic offensive on the eastern front has
confirmed our party's analysis that the strategic
offensive would focus on highways, cities and
headquarters. We have learned not only mobile
and positional warfare; we have also learned to
fight stable positional warfare... After the
accomplishments of this battle, the enemy mobilised
thousands of Royal Army soldiers, including its
Ranger Battalion, its best contingent, to encircle and
destroy us. But the PLA not only fought heroically
and foiled their attempts but also inflicted serious
losses on the enemy and captured heavy weapons
and ammunition from them.196
As always, the conflicting assessments reflect the
propaganda aims ofthe two sides. In the post-February
2005 environment, the complete absence of any
independent reporting of events makes it even more
difficult to judge the truth. In the Siraha clashes, the RNA
claimed that some three dozen local residents were
"apparently used as human shields" by the Maoists.197
Diwakar, in contrast, insists that "since they could not
face the PLA, the Royal terrorists began to attack the local
people with deadly weapons".198
The assertions of both armed parties are unreliable and, in
current circumstances, unverifiable. But in terms of
Maoist policy, the crucial question is: what is "victory"?
Many close observers ofthe CPN(M) are convinced that
the Maoist leadership has long been aware that an all-out
military victory is not only infeasible but also undesirable.
As one Maoist supporter put it:
They don't just want to seize power, they want to
retain it and use it to transform Nepal. They know
that smashing the state by force of arms will be
difficult and ultimately unsustainable. They're well
aware how the world would react to a violent
overthrow of Kathmandu and how difficult that
would make it for them to remain in power.199
The Maoists have always seen political and military actions
as two sides ofthe same coin: this basic assumption lies
at the core of all their policy statements and war strategies.
It would be strange to expect their conception of victory
to be any different.
197 „
Siraha clash toll tops 45", 10 May 2005.
' Interview with Ananta, Janadesh, 16 May 2005.
' Crisis Group interview, New Delhi, November 2004.
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Page 28
Ifthe Maoists were to attain some degree of power, what
would their objectives be? Given some oftheir stated
preferences, Cultural Revolution-era China might be more
of a guide than the pragmatic united front tactics that Mao
earlier espoused. China before the Cultural Revolution took
a transitional approach to the bourgeoisie but during the
Cultural Revolution concentrated on the elimination of class
enemies.200 However, the political system implemented by
the Chinese communists when they came to power still
reads as a basic template for the CPN(M)'s stated
The model adopted by China for putting "new democracy"
into practice was a "people's democratic dictatorship", a
concept formalised by Mao as the communists entered
Beijing.202 He later clarified its essence as "democracy for
the people and dictatorship over the reactionaries".203 The
Nepali Maoists have indicated that they would follow the
Chinese precedent and deny political rights to those they
deemed opposed to socialist transformation.204 The 1954
Chinese constitution did not give special status to the
Communist Party nor did it mention specifically what type
of other parties would be permitted but the reality was a
200 ,,-pj^ poijucaj policy 0fthe communist party was to continue
with the coalition with this class, and the economic policy was
the implementation of peaceful redemption and state capitalism
The objective was to eliminate the national bourgeoisie class
and to gradually transform the majority members of this class to
labourers", Kwok-Sing Li, op. cit, p. 452.
201 The preamble ofthe 1954 Chinese Constitution uses "people's
democracy" and "new democracy" as equivalents while
describing the People's Republic of China as a "people's
democratic dictatorship". Article 1 is more precise: "The
People's Republic of China is a people's democratic state led
by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and
peasants". Documents ofthe First Session ofthe First National
People's Congress ofthe People's Republic of China (Peking,
202 Mao Zedong, "On the People's Democratic Dictatorship",
30 June 1949.
203 Mao Zedong, "On the Conect Handling of Contradictions
among the People", 27 February 1957, speech cited in Kwok-
Sing Li, op. cit, p. 338.
204 Article 19 of the 1954 Chinese Constitution: "The People's
Republic of China safeguards the people's democratic system,
suppresses all treasonable and counter-revolutionary activities
and punishes all traitors and counter-revolutionaries. The state
deprives feudal landlords and bureaucrat-capitalists of political
rights for a specific period of time according to law; at the same
time it provides them with a way to earn a living, in order to
enable them to reform through work and become citizens who
earn their livelihood by their own labour".
one-party state.205 Basic political rights ~ freedom of
speech, press, assembly, association and demonstration —
were all in theory constitutionally guaranteed206 but proved
meaningless. The program of the United People's
Revolutionary Council is strikingly similar:
hi the New Democratic/People's Democratic system,
the fundamental and political rights of all people
including the rights to speak, write, publish, hold
meetings and demonstrations and form organisations
and political parties, elect and get elected, profess
or not profess religions, settle in the place desired,
etc. shall be guaranteed. Employment, education
and health shall be considered as the fundamental
rights ofthe people. Contrary to the propaganda of
the reactionaries that there is one-party dictatorship
ofthe communist party in New Democracy/People's
Democracy, full freedom will be guaranteed for
various patriotic, democratic and leftist parties on
the basis of mutual co-operation and supervision
with the communist party for a long time.207
Ifthe warnings about "co-operation and supervision" were
not sufficient to sound alarms, the program further clarifies
that "the people of reactionary classes who would play [a]
reactionary role during the people's revolution and act
against the cause ofthe country and the people shall be
deprived of all political rights for a definite period"208 The
Maoists promise an elected National House of People's
Representatives, which would "function according to the
principles of democratic centralism".209 In their terms,
democratic centralism means "maintaining a proper balance
between democracy and centralism", with "proletarian
leadership in every sector...and a method of high
application ofthe mass-line".210 Moreover, the Maoists'
205 Article 86 ofthe 1954 Constitution entitles individuals to
stand for election but Article 32 of the Organic Law of the
National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China
(adopted 20 September 1954) states that "Deputies to the
National People's Congress must be loyal to the people's
democratic system...they must also...give active help to the
implementation ofthe Constitution, the law and the policy of
the state". Documents, op. cit, p. 177.
206 Article 87.
207 Common Minimum Policy and Programme of the URPC,
Article 4.
208 Ibid.
209 Ibid, Articles 13-15. In the words of Mao, "Within the ranks
of the people, we cannot do without freedom, nor can we do
without discipline... .Under this system [democratic centralism]
the people enjoy broad democracy and freedom, but at the same
time they have to keep within the bounds of socialist discipline".
Mao Zedong, "On the Correct Handling of Contradictions among
the People", 27 February 1957, in Selected Works, op. cit, vol.
v, p. 389.
210 Common Minimum Policy and Program of the URPC,
Article 9.
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Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 29
original aim after completing the "new democratic
revolution" is described as "immediately moving towards
socialism, and, by way of cultural revolutions based on
the theory of continuous revolution under the dictatorship
of the proletariat, marching to communism — the golden
future ofthe whole [of] humanity".211
The threat of Maoist political totalitarianism must be taken
seriously and has been underlined by their conduct to date.
They have often used violence to target the very classes
for whom they claim to be fighting, thus raising questions
about their "hearts and minds" strategy. The character
of Maoist rule in the parts of the country they control
has tended to be authoritarian: for example, rhetorical
commitments to ensuring freedom of speech have not
extended to allowing anyone to speak out against them. In
the words of Khadga Bahadur Bishwakarma, the head of
the Maoist Bheri-Karnali autonomous government, "there
will be a ban for a specific period on all forces or parties
playing a counterrevolutionary role".212 The allegation of
"counterrevolutionary" tendencies is a broad brush that
has in the past been used to tar a wide range of opponents,
including workers for all the mainstream political parties.
However, while the ultimate goal of socialism and
communism remains official Maoist policy, since the
2003 ceasefire talk ofthe "new democratic revolution"
has been gradually displaced by a commitment to complete
the bourgeois democratic revolution. As Prachanda himself
put it unambiguously, "the basic political strategy ofthe
Party is to free the Nepalese society from feudalism
and imperialism through the bourgeois democratic
revolution".213 This implies a significant shift in objectives,
and one that would play a major role in shaping Maoist
activities and approach to any future negotiations. At the
same time as confirming that the Maoists' strategic
offensive would continue, spokesman Krishna Bahadur
Mahara also emphasised the possibility of a peaceful
transition via a multiparty democratic stage: "If we are
to forge an alliance with the other parties we have to
be flexible. We envisage a two-step revolution ~ first
a multiparty democratic republic. If it was a genuine
democracy, then we would work for the peaceful
transformation ofthe state".214
There is ample room within Maoist ideology to make this
transition and justify it in terms of party theory. Marxists
"Theoretical Premises for the Historic Initiation of the
People's War", op. cit.
212J. Pandey, "Maobadi yenanma bandukko shasan", Nepal,
1-15 February 2004.
213 Prachanda, "A Brief Introduction to the Policies of the
C.P.N. (Maoist)", The Worker, No. 9, February 2004.
214 Isabel Hilton, "The King and Mao", Financial Times, 14
May 2005.
have always been preoccupied with questions of the
historical appropriateness of types of revolution. Lenin
himself for many years believed that Russia would first
have to undergo a democratic revolution before movement
towards communism could be envisaged. He was only
a belated convert to Trotsky's plan for "permanent
revolution", which proposed skipping the democratic
stage of development entirely and jumping into a
proletarian-driven class transformation.
In the most significant Maoist writing on the topic,
Baburam Bhattarai cites Engels in support of his
argument that "a proletarian party needs to uphold
the program of a bourgeois republic in a country like
present-day Nepal".215 Bhattarai quotes Engels' criticism
ofthe Bakuninist anarchists in nineteenth century Spain,
implying that there is a clear parallel for Nepal: "Spain
is such a backward country industrially that there can be
no question there of immediate complete emancipation
ofthe working class. Spain will first have to pass through
various preliminary stages of development and remove
quite a number of obstacles from its path".216
Ironically, Bhattarai's dismissal of "BaJkuninist" approaches
recalls nothing more than the classic critique of Naxalism
from within the mainstream Indian communist
movement.217 As Mohit Sen observed of Naxalite strategy,
"the central idea was that one should not wait for the people
to be ready for armed struggle but to prepare the people for
armed struggle by the starting of such a struggle by
dedicated revolutionaries....This was, of course, nothing
but the old anarchism of Blanqui and Bakunin dressed up
in the new tunic of Lin Biao's army".218 The fact that
Bhattarai, and indeed Prachanda in many similar comments
on the need for completing the bourgeois democratic
revolution, adopt the language of mainstream Indian
communists rather than Naxahtes is highly significant.219
A senior Indian communist leader has pointed to these
Baburam Bhattarai, "Royal Regression and the Question of a
Democratic Republic in Nepal", in Monarchy vs. Democracy:
The Epic Fight in Nepal (New Delhi, 2005), p. 11.
216 Friedrich Engels, "The Bakuninists at Work", cited in
Bhattarai, "Royal Regression", ibid, p. 11.
217 The Naxalite movement, named for the village of Naxalbari
in India's West Bengal (on the Nepal border), was a late 1960s
Maoist uprising. It was largely defeated by a tough security
response and by mainstream communist parties outflanking the
Naxalites politically, carrying out land reform to build a small
peasant support base.
218 Mohit Sen, The Traveller and the Road (Delhi, 2003), p.
219 A full year before the royal coup, Prachanda chose to
emphasise that "Marxism does not oppose adult suffrage and
the representative institution elected thereof, "On the State
and Democracy", The Worker, No. 9, February 2004.
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Page 30
The Maoists must be tempted with a CPM-style
model.220 We can try to persuade them with an
amnesty and mainstream participation. If they get a
majority, so be it. There is also fatigue, and a long
fight can encourage people who are getting tired of
operations to find some face-saving mechanism,
such as if they could claim "victory" on something
such as land reform. Some are extremists but not
all...once [the UML] came into the mainstream,
they became power-oriented, all parliamentary
machinations. That disillusioned the youth and
created a potential Maoist following. That section
can be brought back into the mainstream.221
The Maoists will obviously need to deliver some successes
to their cadres, whom they have done little to prepare for
any sense of compromise with mainstream democratic
forces. And they do have some bottom lines. In particular,
they would want to see major moves on land reform,
caste and ethnic equality, regional devolution and the
monarchy. On the last, they still claim to be flexible,
although it is hard to believe that current circumstances
have not emboldened them and raised hopes that they can
"win" the end ofthe monarchy. As for the rest, there is
nothing politically insunnountable. When asked what the
Maoists would settle for, a top-level Indian bureaucrat
was optimistic:
They need a share in working out political
arrangements, a level playing field to participate,
an amnesty of some sort, to be seen by their own
cadres to have got some elements oftheir program
accepted. This is quite possible. It's not inconceivable
to get an agenda they could sign up to.222
Much would then depend on the Maoists' own calculations
for entering electoral politics: if they can be persuaded —
and persuade themselves — that they have a viable future
in the political mainstream, they may well be ready to talk
CPM is the standard abbreviation for the mainstream
Communist Party of India (Marxist), which has led the United
Front government in West Bengal since 1977.
221 Crisis Group interview, New Delhi, December 2004.
222 Crisis Group interview, New Delhi, December 2004.
Whatever the outcome of their armed insurgency, the
Maoists have changed politics in Nepal irrevocably. They
broke the tacit consent ofthe post-1990 compromise and
turned previously marginal issues into central questions
that the state cannot avoid. In doing this they have
convinced many oftheir initial assertion that the 1990
settlement contained inherent flaws and was not a stable
division of political power.223 They have brought into sharp
focus the failures of past gestures towards land reform,
ethnic, caste and gender equality and regional issues, social
and economic iniquities, and decades of failed development.
They have returned the possibility of a new constitution
drafted by an elected body to the heart ofthe mainstream
agenda and, helped by the palace, they have been largely
responsible for making the formerly taboo topic of
republicanism a rallying call for activists within the
established parties. They have, in short, let many genies
out oftheir bottles. Regardless ofthe success or failure of
their own movement, they have changed the environment
in which future governments will have to work.
Most visibly and painfully, however, the Maoists have
successfully demonstrated that Nepali society does indeed
contain a capacity for violence that can be turned to political
ends. The Maoists argue that the trauma of insurgency is a
necessary corrective to centuries of oppression and, in
comparison to this history of brutal state neglect, a price
worth paying for radical reform. But mainstream democrats
accuse them of having foreclosed the possibilities for
progressive reform by undermining the achievements
of the 1990 people's movement and incapacitating
government. The mainstream consensus is that the Maoists,
and their deliberate militarisation ofthe state, are primarily
to blame for the resurgence of an authoritarian monarchy.
The culture of violence, intimidation and summary justice
which they have introduced across the country may prove
hard to dislodge.
The Maoists also face intense critiques from fellow Nepali
communists who view them as adventurists who have
misread the political situation and embarked on a
dangerously counterproductive course. While their overall
objectives may be shared, mainstream communists reject
the arguments for an immediate armed struggle and insist
that a popular mass base should instead be cultivated and
mobilised by peaceful means. Signs that Prachanda has
been fashioning the movement around an all-powerful
central command with personality cult trappings have
also brought grave misgivings. The Maoists continue to
See Crisis Group Report, Towards a Lasting Peace in Nepal,
op. cit.
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 31
look politically isolated, and clashes with even the most
ideologically similar parties, such as Janamorcha, show
how far they still are from winning the political argument.
Still, whether through force of arms, force of ideas or
a combination of both, the Maoists have emerged as a
formidable political organisation. They have been more
successful than anyone envisaged, and their strategy of
people's war has resulted in an armed movement that will
not be easily displaced. "Prachanda and Baburam were no
one — we made them", says an experienced grass-roots
communist activist.224 But the fact is that the Maoists have
managed to overshadow the mainstream. There can be no
resolution ofthe conflict without confronting their strengths
and tackling their political agenda.
There are, however, encouraging signs that serious
negotiations will be possible. The Maoists themselves have
made ideological moves which open up the possibility of
a principled compromise that they could sell to their cadres.
They are not the next Khmer Rouge, nor are they a tenorist
organisation that refuses to talk. The mainstream parties
are facing up to the need for structural reforms in Nepali
society and for a more equitable distribution of power.
The seven-party alliance's acceptance of a constitutional
assembly as a model for reform could tempt the Maoists
into more substantive talks.225
International opinion towards the Maoists has not softened
but policymakers are increasingly willing to engage them
if they abide by certain rules. "We shouldn't have any
trouble talking to the Maoists", observes one senior Indian
national security expert. "But only if they observe two
conditions: to drop links with Indian extremists and to
accept multiparty democracy" .226
The unilateral three-month ceasefire announced by the
Maoists in September 2005 has provoked predictable
reactions. A population battered by years of war has largely
welcomed the reduction in violence, however temporary
and conditional. So, too, have state security personnel and
their families, many of whom are constantiy harassed and
threatened by the Maoists. Mainstream parties have taken
the truce as partial proof of good faith but the Maoists will
have to work hard to convince them that they can abandon
their habit of violent repression. The royal government,
pushed by a suspicious military leadership, has refused to
reciprocate the ceasefire and insists the Maoists cannot be
trusted. The RNA has used the ceasefire to arrest a few
Maoists and to kill some others, thereby creating conditions
for renewal ofthe conflict.
Past experience certainly suggests the Maoists will make
the most of the ceasefire to prepare for alternative
scenarios, including a possible escalation ofthe conflict.
But their actions are more likely to be driven by their
assessment of threats and opportunities than by the
"sincerity" oftheir desire for peace. They will make a
serious effort to rejoin mainstream politics only if they see
sufficient advantages in it and are convinced that they will
not make greater gains by other means. In this, as in
their campaign to date, they will maintain a long-
term perspective and will be armed with patience and the
ability to countenance short-term setbacks in pursuit
of slow progress. It is pointless to imagine that the most
committed Maoists will ever abandon their political goals
and the desire to achieve them. But if they decide they can
gain more by compromise than by fighting, their capacity
for hard-headed pragmatism may prevail.
Kathmandu/Brussels, 27 October 2005
Crisis Group interview, New Delhi, May 2005.
225 See Crisis Group Report, Towards a Lasting Peace in
Nepal, op. cit.
226 Crisis Group interview, New Delhi, September 2005.
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 32
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 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 33
Regional Bureaux and Divisions of the Maoists
Narayani       Janakpur-
Bureau (Bureau Sagarmatha
Proposed Ethnic and Regional
Autonomous States of the Maoists.
J \    '
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 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005 Page 34
Prachanda: Party Chairman and Supreme Commander ofthe People's Liberation Army
Standing Committee
1. Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda, Biswas), Brahman from Chitwan, b. 1954 (Kaski): Chairman and Supreme
Commander ofthe PLA. Joined communist politics as full-time underground activist with CPN (Fourth Convention)
in 1970s; sided with Mohan Bikram Singh in 1984 split after his long-running feud with Nirmal Lama but went with
Mohan Baidya against Singh in 1986; became general secretary of Mashal in 1990 and remained at head of party as
it became Unity Centre then CPN(M). Holds an Intermediate science degree from Patan Campus and Bachelor of
Science degree (in agriculture) from Rampur Campus, Chitwan and is the author of numerous articles, policy
documents and press statements and some books, including Nepali krantika samasyaharu (The Problems of
Revolution in Nepal). Low public profile due to long years underground but tight grip on party.
2. Mohan Vaidya (Kiran, Agam), Brahman from Pyuthan, b. 1937: one of the founders of the CPN(M) and
former general secretary of Mashal. Lifelong political activist seen as major Maoist ideologue and Prachanda's
main mentor. Was arrested in Siliguri, West Bengal while in charge of Eastern Central Command March 2004
and remains in prison. Holds a masters degree from Tribhuvan University.
3. Dr Baburam Bhattarai (Laldhoj, Jitbir, Mukti Manav), Brahman from Gorkha, b. 1954: formerly in charge of Mid
Central Command, coordinator of United Revolutionary People's Council, Nepal and chief of International
Department. Disciplined in March 2005 but then reinstated. Entered student politics 1977; founder president of All
India Nepali Student Association. Joined CPN (Fourth Convention) and remained with Mohan Bikram Singh's Masai
after 1986 split, leaving in 1991 to form United Peoples Front, Nepal, which became the CPN(M)'s political front.
Leader of CPN(M) 2003 negotiating team. A brilliant student: first School-Leaving Certificate topper from outside the
Kathmandu valley; Intermediate science from Amrit Science College, Kathmandu; Bachelor of Engineering from
Chandigarh, India; masters from the School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi and PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru
University with dissertation on "Natural and regional issues in Nepal's underdevelopment". Author of numerous articles
and books including The Nature of Underdevelopment and Regional Structure of Nepal, Rajnitik arthashastrako
ankhijhyalbata (Politico-Economic Rationale of People's War in Nepal), Marxbad ra mahila mukti {Marxism and
Women's Emancipation), co-written with wife, Hisila Yami. The best known public face ofthe Maoist movement; seen
by some as a threat to Prachanda's supremacy.
4. Ram Bahadur Thapa (Badal, Lakhan, Prem, Bhimsen), Magar from Chitwan, b. 1954: in charge of Eastern
Central Command and member of CPN(M) 2003 negotiating team. School and college education from Chitwan,
then went to USSR for higher studies but returned to Nepal for student agitation in 1979 and devoted himself to full-
time underground communist politics. Played a leading role in building political base for people's war in Rapti hills.
In 1997 removed from all party posts and sent to labour camp under disciplinary action but was gradually
rehabilitated and promoted. Popularly labelled as military commander but prefers to describe himself as military
strategist. Seen as a powerful pro-Prachanda member ofthe standing committee.
5. Post Bahadur Bogati (Diwakar, Ranadhwaj), Chhetri from Nuwakot, b. 1942: in charge of Mid Central
Command and formerly of Western Central Command. Played a major role in building Maoist support in Rolpa
and Rukum and the midwest, where he was active from the start of the people's war until March 2005. Self-
taught with wide knowledge of Marxist philosophy and seen as a powerful member ofthe standing committee.
6. Krishna Bahadur Mahara (Amarsingh, Chattan, Balbhadra), Chhetri from Rolpa, b. 1958: CPN(M) spokesman, in
charge of International Department (India) and deputy coordinator of URPC. Former coordinator of CPN(M) 2001
negotiating team and member of CPN(M) 2003 negotiating team. Promoted to standing committee early 2005 and the
only person apart from Prachanda who can talk to the media on behalf of CPN(M) headquarters. Holds Bachelor in
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N°104, 27 October 2005 Page 35
Education degree from Tribhuvan University and worked as a schoolteacher in Rolpa for more than a decade. Elected
United People's Front member of parliament from Rolpa in 1991.
7. Dev Gurung (Kanchha Bahadur, Dorje), Gurung from Manang, b. 1954: former head of Ethnic Department, Gandak
Regional Bureau, and Tamuwan Autonomous Regional People's Government. Promoted to standing committee and
appointed to lead Western Central Command, March 2005; probably no longer holds lower positions. Secretary of
URPC and member of CPN(M) 2003 negotiating team. Entered communist politics as a student and became
ANNFSU(R) president. Was arrested by police in Gorkha in 1996 and released on 6 January 2000.
Politburo Members
8. Dinanath Sharma (Kishor, Ashok), Brahman from Baglung: former Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and
Organisations of South Asia coordinator but placed under disciplinary action in March 2005, forced to resign from
posts and current party status unclear.
9. C.P. Gajurel (Gaurav, Bijaya, Prabesh Kumar), Brahman from Sindhuli, b. 1948: former chief of International
Department and responsible for relations with the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) and World
People's Resistance Movement (WPRM); also former chairman ofthe All India Nepali Ekta Samaj. Arrested at
Chennai Airport in August 2003 when trying to fly to Europe on fake British passport; currently in prison in
Chennai, India. Holds a Masters of Science degree from Tribhuvan University.
10. Agni Prasad Sapkota (Kanchan, Sushil, Parbat), Brahman from Sindhupalchowk, b. 1958: in charge of Narayani-
Bagmati Regional Bureau and member of URPC. Member ofthe 2001 CPN(M) negotiating team. Entered politics
while a schoolteacher in Sindhupalchowk.
11. Mani Thapa (Anukul, Anup), Magar from Pyuthan: in charge of Sagarmatha-Janakpur Regional Bureau.
12. Matrika Yadav (Ram Singh, Pradeep, Pratik), Tarai occupational caste Hindu from Dhanusha, b. 1947: chairman of
Madhes Autonomous Regional People's Government and chief of the Madhesi Rastriya Mukti Morcha. Member of
2003 CPN(M) negotiating team. Arrested near Delhi in 2004 and currentiy in Nepal government custody.
13. Pampha Bhusal (Shrishti, Himali, Sarita, Puja, Smriti), Brahman from Arghakhanchi, b. 1961: head of Women's
Department; member of URPC and most senior woman in the CPN(M).
14. Netra Vikram Chand (Viplab, Ratna Bahadur Shahi, Iman Singh), Chhetri from Rolpa: in charge of Special Regional
Bureau under the Mid Central Command and former vice chairman of ANNFSU(R)
15. Ishwar Man Pradhananga (a.k.a. Rabindra Shrestha, Shashi Shrestha), Newar from Bhaktapur: head of Industry
Department. Arrested in Kathmandu in 2001 and released in 2003.
16. Janardan Sharma (Prabhakar), Brahman from Rukum: Western Division commander.
17. Varshaman Pun (Ananta), Magar from Rolpa: Eastern Division commander.
18. Hitraj Pandey (Uttam), b. 1959: Basu Memorial Fourth Brigade commissar.
19. Top Bahadur Rayamajhi (Jivan, Amar, Anil, a.k.a Kishan Pyakurel), Brahman from Arghakhanchi: member of
URPC and in charge of NRN Command (India) since September 2004; former Lisne-Gam Brigade commissar and
former Chairman of ANNFSU(R). Member ofthe 2001 CPN(M) negotiating team. Close to Baburam Bhattarai.
20. Haribhakta Kandel (Bimal), Brahman from Gorkha: chief of the Central Finance Department.
21. Haribol Gajurel (Shital Kumar, Prajwal), Brahman from Sindhuli: International Department member.
22. Hitman Shakya (Suman; also Suresh, Tutu, Sagar), Newar from Baglung, b. 1960: in charge of Special Regional
Bureau under the Eastern Central Command and chief of the Central Education Department.
23. Nanda Kishor Pun (Pasang), Magar from Rolpa: Western Division commander.
24. Hisila Yami (Parvati), Newar from Kathmandu: alternate politburo member; former deputy chief of International
Department but placed under disciplinary action in March 2005 and current party status unclear. Trained architect and
lecturer on Pulchowk Campus since 1996 until going underground. Author of many articles andMarxbad ra mahila
mukti {Marxism and Women's Emancipation) co-written with husband Baburam Bhattarai.
25. Kul Prasad KC. (Sonam): alternate politburo member, currently in prison in Patna, India.
26. Gopal Khambu (Sahila), Rai from Solukhumbu: alternate politburo member; in charge of Mechi-Koshi Regional
Bureau and head of Kirat Autonomous Regional People's Government.
27. Devendra Paudel (Sunil): alternate politburo member; former general secretary of ANNFSU(R), forced to resign,
under disciplinary action.
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N°104, 27 October 2005 Page 36
28. Khadga Bahadur Bishwakarma (Prakanda), Dalit from Kalikot: alternate politburo member; chairman of Bheri-
Karnali Regional Autonomous People's Government, in charge of Bheri-Karnali Regional Bureau and chief of
Central Dalit Department.
29. Kumar Dahal (Vijay), Brahman: alternate politburo member and formerly in charge of Valley Bureau; former
Chairman of All-Nepal Trade Union, currently in prison in Patna, India.
Central Committee Members
30. Ganga Bahadur Karki (Vishva): Bethan Memorial Fifth Brigade commissar.
31. Santu Darai (Parwana): Mechi-Koshi Seventh Brigade commissar.
32. Ganga Shrestha (Prabhat): former general secretary of ANNFSU(R).
33. Gaurishankar Khadka (Rajendra): former UML leader.
34. Kumar Paudel (Kamal): central committee member of then UPF.
35. "Rajesh": Eastern Division vice-commander.
36. Lokendra Bishta: currently in prison in Patna, India.
37. Santosh Budha Magar (Bhrun): head of Magarat Autonomous Regional People's Government.
38. Dharmendra Bastola
39. Dhruva Parajuli (Santosh): Solu-Salleri Sixth Brigade commissar.
40. Pavan Man Shrestha (Prabhakiran): in charge of Valley Bureau, former chairman of Newa Khala.
41. Jayapuri Gharti: chair of All-Nepal Women's Association (Revolutionary).
42. Uma Bhujel (Silu): member of Women's Department.
43. Padam Rai (Vikas): Bhojpur district, position uncertain.
44. Himal Rai: Bhojpur district, position uncertain.
45. Savitri Kaphle (Samar [male]): in charge of Bhojpur district.
46. Suresh Ale Magar (Sangram): currently in Nepal government custody.
47. Hit Bahadur Tamang (Shamsher): head of Tamang Autonomous Regional People's Government, currently in prison in
Patna, India.
48. Ram Charan Chaudhari: head of Tharuwan Autonomous Regional People's Government.
49. Narayan Sharma (Kamal Prasad): Communications and Publications Department, former Janadesh editor.
50. Krishna Prasad Sapkota (Deshbandhu): Agni Sapkota's younger brother, in charge of Dolakha-Sindhupalchowk.
51. Bamdev Chhetri (Vikalpa)
52. Jhaku Prasad Subedi: former District Development Committee chairman, Rolpa.
53. Puma Bahadur Gharti (Visham): former head of Rukum People's Government.
54. Tilak Pariyar: chairman of Dalit Liberation Front.
55. Amar Sharma (Pratap)
56. Shriram Dhakal (Prashant): Thawang-Nuwagaon road construction committee coordinator.
57. Bhakta Bahadur Shah: head of Jajarkot People's Government.
58. Lekhraj Bhatta (Rakesh): in charge of Seti-Mahakali and head of Seti-Mahakali Autonomous Regional People's
59. Rekha Sharma: former chair of All-Nepal Women's Association (Revolutionary), currently under disciplinary action.
60. Krishnadhwaj Khadka: former chairman of ANNFSU(R), currently under disciplinary action.
61. Dinesh Sharma (Pramod)
62. Chandra Prasad Khanal (Baldev)
63. Sakuhang Kirati
64. Babulal Pun
65. Hemant Prakash Oli (H.P. Himali)
66. Ganga Bahadur Tamang (Dorje): general secretary ofthe Tamang National Liberation Front.
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005 Page 37
67. Man Bahadur Thapa Magar: leader ofthe then United People's Front.
68. "Apar": assigned to the eastern command.
69. "Barun": vice-commander of Mid Division.
70. "Uddhav": Ghorahi-Satbariya Second Brigade commissar.
71. "Vividh": vice-commander of Western Division.
72. "Sarai"
73. "Athak"
74. Dipendra Pun (Sijal): Rolpa
75. Khim Bahadur Thapa (Sunil): Mangalsen First Brigade commissar.
76. Balaram Timilsina (Dinesh): Sindhuli district, position uncertain [?].
77. Manoj Jang Thapa
78. Ishwari Dahal (Asare Kaka/Budha)
79. Ganesh Man Gurung (Rashmi): deputy head of Magarat Autonomous Regional People's Government and Parivartan
Memorial Ninth Brigade commissar.
80. Dilip Maharjan: Newa Khala chairman, currently in prison in Patna, India.
81. Tej Prakash Oli (Pratik): Bahubir Yoddha Eighth Brigade commissar.
82. Tanka Prasad Angwohang (Prabhav): deputy head of Kirat Autonomous Regional People's Government.
83. Dawa Tamang (Kshitij): alternate central committee member [?], head of Sindhupalchowk People's Government.
84. Mahendra Paswan: alternate central committee member, former student leader, chief secretary ofthe Madhesh
Autonomous People's Government.
85. Lekhnath Neupane (Nirmal/Premsudha): alternate central committee member, ANNFSU(R) chairman.
86. Dinanath Gautam (Puran): alternate central committee member.
87. Anil Sharma (Virahi): alternate central committee member, former student leader, currently in prison in Patna, India.
88. Pushpa Bikram Malla (Singh): alternate central committee member, formerly in charge of Dhading.
89. Ram Karki (a.k.a. Partha Chhetri): alternate central committee member, International Department.
90. Thaman Pariyar: alternate central committee member and head of Kaski People's Government.
91. Kumari Moktan (Samjhana): alternate central committee member, acting head of Tamang Autonomous Regional
People's Government and head of Makwanpur People's Government.
92. Kali Bahadur Malla (Jitendra): alternate central committee member.
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 38
The Party
Standing Committee
The Army
Divisions (3)
The United Front
United People's Revolutionary
Council, Nepal
Central Committee
Brigades (9)
Ethnic and regional "autonomous
people's governments" (8)
Central Command (3)
Battalions (29) United District People's Committees
United Area People's Committees
Regional bureaus
United Village People's Committees
Sub-regional bureaus
United Ward People's Committees
District committees
Area committees
[The "people's militias" organised on
a local basis are separate from other
military units]
Cell committees
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 39
General Headquarters
Supreme Commander
Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda)
Western Division
Mid Division
Eastern Division
Dev Gurung (Kanchha Bahadur)
Janardan Sharma (Prabhakar)
Vice Commander
Post Bahadur Bogati (Diwakar)
Nanda Kishor Pun (Pasang)
Vice Commander
Ram Bahadur Thapa (Badal)
Barsha Man Pun (Ananta)
Vice Commander
1. Ghorahi-Satbariya Second Brigade
Jit (killed in action in Bardiya,
March 2005)
1. Mangalsen First Brigade
Kim Bahadur Thapa (Sunil)
1. Bethan Memorial Fifth Brigade
Ganga Bahadur Karki (Vishva)
Hari Shrestha (Pramod)
2. Lisne-Gam Third Brigade
Top Bahadur Rayamajhi (Jivan)
2. Basu Memorial Fourth Brigade
Hitraj Pandey (Uttam)
Yam Bahadur Adhikari (Pratiksha)
2. Solu-Salleri Sixth Brigade
Dhruva Parajuli (Santosh)
3. Bahubir-Yoddha Eighth Brigade     3. Parivartan Memorial Ninth Brigade       3. Mechi-Koshi Seventh Brigade
Tej Prakash Oli (Pratik)
Ganeshman Pun (Rashmi)
Santu Darai (Parvana)
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N°l 04, 2 7 October 2005 Page 40
Demands Related to Nationalism
1. Regarding the 1950 Treaty between India and Nepal, all unequal stipulations and agreements should be removed.
2. HMG [His Majesty's Government] should admit that the anti-nationalist Tanakpur agreement was wrong,
and the Mahakali Treaty, incorporating same, should be nullified.
3. The entire Nepal-Indian border should be controlled and systematised. Cars with Indian number plates, which
are plying the roads of Nepal, should not be allowed.
4. Gurkha recruiting centers should be closed and decent jobs should be arranged for the recruits.
5. In several areas of Nepal, where foreign technicians are given precedence over Nepali technicians for certain local
jobs, a system of work permits should be instituted for the foreigners.
6. The monopoly of foreign capital in Nepal's industry, trade and economic sector should be stopped.
7. Sufficient income should be generated from customs duties for the country's economic development.
8. The cultural pollution of imperialists and expansionists should be stopped. Hindi video, cinema, and all kinds of such
newspapers and magazines should be completely stopped. Inside Nepal, import and distribution of vulgar Hindi
films, video cassettes and magazines should be stopped.
9. Regarding NGOs and INGOs: Bribing by imperialists and expansionists in the name of NGOs and INGOs
should be stopped.
Demands Related to the Public and Its Well-Being
1. A new Constitution has to be drafted by the people's elected representatives.
2. All the special rights and privileges ofthe King and his family should be ended.
3. Army, police and administration should be under the people's control.
4. The Security Act and all other repressive acts should be abolished.
5. All the false charges against the people of Rukum, Rolpa, Jajarkot, Gorkha, Kavre, Sindhuphalchowk, Sindhuli,
Dhanusha and Ramechap should be withdrawn and all the people falsely charged should be released.
6. Armed police operations in the different districts should immediately be stopped.
7. Regarding Dilip Chaudhary, Bhuvan Thapa Magar, Prabhakar Subedi and other people who disappeared from
police custody at different times, the government should constitute a special investigating committee to look into
these crimes and the culprits should be punished and appropriate compensation given to their families.
8. People who died during the time ofthe movement should be declared as martyrs and their families and those who
have been wounded and disabled should be given proper compensation. Strong action should be taken against the
9. Nepal should be declared a secular state.
10. Girls should be given equal property rights to those oftheir brothers.
11. All kinds of exploitation and prejudice based on caste should be ended. In areas having a majority of one ethnic
group, that group should have autonomy over that area.
Submitted to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on 4 February 1996 by Dr Baburam Bhattarai on behalf of the United
People's Front Nepal. Available at
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005 Page 41
12. The status of dalits as untouchables should be ended and the system of untouchability should be ended once and for
13. All languages should be given equal status. Up until middle-high school level (uccha-madyamic) arrangements
should be made for education to be given in the children's mother tongue.
14. There should be guarantee of free speech and free press. The communications media should be completely
15. Intellectuals, historians, artists and academicians engaged in other cultural activities should be guaranteed intellectual
16. In both the tarai and hilly regions there is prejudice and misunderstanding in backward areas. This should be ended
and the backward areas should be assisted. Good relations should be established between the villages and the city.
17. Decentralisation in real terms should be applied to local areas, which should have local rights, autonomy and
control over their own resources.
Demands Related to the People's Lives
1. Those who cultivate the land should own it. (The tiller should have right to the soil he/she tills.) The land of rich
landlords should be confiscated and distributed to the homeless and others who have no land.
2. Brokers and commission agents should have their property confiscated and that money should be invested in
3. All should be guaranteed work and should be given a stipend until jobs are found for them.
4. HMG [His Majesty's Government] should pass strong laws ensuring that people involved in industry and
agriculture should receive minimum wages.
5. The homeless should be given suitable accommodation. Until HMG [His Majesty's Government] can provide
such accommodation they should not be removed from where they are squatting.
6. Poor farmers should be completely freed from debt. Loans from the Agricultural Development Bank by poor
farmers should be completely written off. Small industries should be given loans.
7. Fertiliser and seeds should be easily and cheaply available, and the farmers should be given a proper market price
for their production.
8. Flood and drought victims should be given all necessary help
9. All should be given free and scientific medical service and education and education for profit should be completely
10. Inflation should be controlled and labourers salaries should be raised in direct ratio with the rise in prices. Daily
essential goods should be made cheap and easily available.
11. Arrangements should be made for drinking water, good roads, and electricity in the villages.
12. Cottage and other small industries should be granted special facilities and protection.
13. Corruption, black marketing, smuggling, bribing, the taking of commissions, etc. should all be stopped.
14. Orphans, the disabled, the elderly and children should be given help and protection.
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005 Page 42
I. Goals and Objectives
The goals and objectives ofthe negotiation between representatives ofthe old state and the new state are as follows:
1. To end the present state of conflict through a forward-looking political solution and establish a lasting peace in the
2. To solve the existing class, nationalities, regional, gender and other contradictions through political, economic and
cultural changes. To solve the problems of nationalism, democracy and people's livelihood and to build a democratic
and prosperous Nepal.
3. To establish a new, strong and democratic national unity and to defend national independence and sovereignty by
upholding democracy and nationalism as indivisible, interdependent and interrelated ensembles.
4. To ensure the broad human and civic rights of all, particularly the underprivileged and oppressed groups, and to
provide appropriate compensation and rehabilitation to the victims ofthe civil war.
II. The Agenda of the Negotiation
Fundamental Political Agenda
Since the question of state power or the political question is key to all the other problems, the main agenda of the
negotiation must be political, and all the focus has to be placed on this. For a political solution out ofthe present crisis, a
forward-looking new state system and a new constitution conforming to it is necessary, and it is so also because the 1990
constitution remains practically dead in the present situation, and there is a constitutional vacuum in the country. Taking
into consideration this ground reality, the procedure of new constitution formation and the minimum substance for the
new constitution must be the main agenda ofthe negotiation.
Although the 1990 constitution has some democratic positive features (e.g. multi-party competition, periodic elections,
rule of law, freedom of speech and press, etc.), it has a number of serious faults and inadequacies (e.g. the so-called
"unchangeable" features, the contradiction between the sovereignty and state power, dissolution of "real democracy" of
oppressed classes, nationalities, regions, gender and others in the Anglo-Saxon "formal democracy", etc.), which have been
proved in the last twelve years.
Hence the process of formulation and content ofthe new constitution has to be definitely more progressive than this one.
In the present context of new balance of political power created by the new consciousness ofthe twenty-first century and
the seven-year-long intense civil war, the regressive idea to go back to the system of pre-1990 and the status quo idea of
sticking to the 1990 achievements will not fulfill the new needs ofthe people and the country and solve the present crisis.
Thus the process of formulation and the minimum content ofthe new constitution should be as follows:
(a) The Process or Procedure for the Formulation of a New Constitution
1. A broad round table conference should be organised with the consent ofthe revolutionary force and major political
parties ofthe country so as to include all democratic, patriotic and leftist forces that are recognised among the masses
through struggle.
2. The round table conference should formulate an interim constitution, which will not curtail the democratic rights
guaranteed in the 1990 constitution and will reflect the new balance of political forces, and an interim government
should be formed under the leadership ofthe revolutionary force.
Extracted from "An Executive Summary of the Proposal Put Forward by CPN (Maoist) for the Negotiations", 27 April 2003,
Kathmandu. Available at
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005 Page 43
3. Elections to a Constituent Assembly with proper representations for various classes, nationalities, regions, gender
and communities should be held within six months under the leadership ofthe interim government and the Assembly
should formulate and promulgate the new constitution.
(b) The Minimum Content of the New Constitution
1. The people should be fully sovereign, and state power must be solely in the hands ofthe people.
2. There shall be an elected people's representative assembly as the highest representative institution with proper
representation of all classes, nationalities, dalits, women, linguistic and religious groups, regions and distinguished
personalities. All the bodies ofthe state will be accountable to this people's representative assembly. The government
will be formed accordingly with proper representation of all.
3. Any provision ofthe constitution may be amended with either a two-thirds majority in the people's representative
assembly or through a referendum.
4. A unified national army should be created with appropriate structural changes in the Royal Nepalese Army and the
People's Liberation Army, and the army should be placed under the command ofthe people's elected representatives.
5. Universal democratic and civic rights including multiparty competition, periodic elections, universal suffrage, rule of
law, freedom of speech and press, fundamental and human rights, etc. should be guaranteed.
6. All the oppressed nationalities, Madhesis (i.e. plains people) and oppressed regions ofthe country should be
guaranteed national and regional autonomy with the right of self-determination.
7. The country should be made fully secular.
8. Education, health and employment should be made fundamental rights ofthe people, and free and universal basic
education and health services should be ensured to all.
9. New land relations should be created on the principle of "land to the tiller", and a judicious redistribution and
advanced management of land should be carried out. A policy of self-reliant national industrialisation and protection
to national capital and resources should be followed.
10. All the unequal treaties, including the 1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty, should be cancelled and an independent foreign
policy on the basis of panchsheel (i.e. five principles of peaceful co-existence) and nonalignment should be
followed. A two-thirds majority in the house of people's representatives should endorse all the treaties and
agreements with foreign countries.
(c) It is our understanding that all the political forces desirous of finding a solution to the present crisis through a forward-
looking political solution can and must have an agreement and understanding on the above minimum content of a new
constitution. However, since an unconditional constituent assembly will formulate the new constitution, it won't be
appropriate both theoretically and practically to determine all the features and provisions of that constitution right now. It is
obvious that in addition to the above minimum content ofthe new constitution different political forces can go to the people
with their own views on monarchy and other progressive issues and the final verdict ofthe people would be acceptable to
everybody concerned.
1. All the agreements, military assistance, presence and activities of foreign armies etc., that are initiated in the pretext
of containing terrorism but which will vitiate the environment for negotiation and which are against the interest of
the nation, should be stopped.
2. Open borders between Nepal and India should be regulated and properly managed. All forms of intrusions,
violations, etc. in the border areas should be contained. Work permit system should be introduced for foreign
3. The Gurkha recruitment centre, which has remained a blot on the nation, should be abolished and employment
should be provided to all the Nepalese within the country itself.
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005 Page 44
4. Foreign monopoly in the field of industry, commerce and finance should to be ended. National industries and
indigenous entrepreneurs should be protected and promoted. The country should be totally freed from the vicious
circle of foreign debt within a stipulated time frame.
5. Foreign infiltration and sabotage in the name of NGOs/lNGOs should be stopped. Conditions imposed by the
international financial institutions that are against the national interests should be invalidated.
6. An integrated national water resources policy should be formulated to harness the immense water resource potential
ofthe country. While according priority to small and medium hydroelectric projects, the entire country should be
electrified within a stipulated time frame.
7. The landless and poor peasants should be freed of all debts, and employment should be guaranteed to them.
8. All types of bonded labour system, including kamaiya, harwa, charwa, etc., should be abolished with a guarantee
of employment and settlement. All homeless persons should be provided with proper housing.
9. There should be cheap and easy access to agricultural inputs like fertilizers, seeds, etc. and proper extension of
irrigation facilities. Appropriate prices and markets should be provided for agricultural products.
10. Price hikes on petroleum products and other daily necessities should be controlled. There should be wage hikes of
workers and civil servants in proportion to the price rise.
11. A proper mechanism should be built to award swift and harsh punishment to those indulging in corruption,
smuggling, brokering and profiteering.
12. A national and scientific education system should be introduced. Education should be employment-oriented. The
privatisation and commercialisation in education should be stopped forthwith.
13. Universal and free health services should be provided and extended especially in the rural areas.
14. Rights ofthe visually impaired, disabled, old, destitute and children should be guaranteed and special provisions
made for their care.
15. All forms of exploitation of women should be ended, and women should be given equal rights in all fields including
parental property. Trafficking of women should be strictly checked.
16. All types of exploitation and oppression on the dalits including untouchability should be eliminated, and they
should be fully ensured equal rights to live like others.
17. For the workers, a working time of 40 hours a week and minimum wages should be fixed, and they should be
strictly implemented.
18. For an all-round development of youths, concrete policies should be formulated and implemented in a planned
19. Academic freedom and professional security ofthe writers, cultural activists, intellectuals, doctors, lawyers, media
persons, engineers, teachers and others should be ensured in order to make them dedicated to the country and the
20. Import and distribution of vulgar cinemas, videos and printed matter within the country as a medium of regressive
foreign cultural pollution and invasion should be prohibited.
21. Special plans for the development and extension of infrastructure like drinking water, bridges, electricity and
others in the rural areas should be formulated and implemented speedily. A national plan for balanced
development should be implemented to eliminate the existing imbalances between rural and urban areas and
between different geographical regions.
22. The rights ofthe Nepalese working abroad should be protected.
23. Those killed in the course ofthe people's movement at different times and the People's War for the cause ofthe
country and people's liberation, should to be declared martyrs, and the killers must be punished.
24. The just demands put forward by different strata ofthe people and different class and mass organisations should
be fulfilled forthwith.
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005 Page 45
IV. The Issues Concerning Human Rights and Immediate Relief and Rehabilitation
1. A high level and authoritative commission, with representatives from human rights organisations, should be
constituted to investigate the violation of human rights in the course ofthe civil war in an impartial manner, and
all the violators must be duly punished.
2. The families ofthe martyrs should be provided with immediate relief and proper compensation.
3. All those wounded in the course ofthe civil war should be provided free treatment.
4. All the displaced families during the course ofthe civil war should be rehabilitated in their old place or other
appropriate places.
V. Implementation and Monitoring
All the subject matters agreed between the two parties should be implemented within the stipulated time, and an impartial
monitoring team should be formed to monitor the implementation ofthe agreements.
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 46
The International Crisis Group (Crisis Group) is an
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October 2005
Further information about Crisis Group can be obtained from our website:
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 47
The IMU and the Hizb-ut-Tahrir: Implications of the
Afghanistan Campaign, Asia Briefing N°ll, 30 January 2002
(also available in Russian)
Central Asia: Border Disputes and Conflict Potential, Asia
Report N°33, 4 April 2002
Central Asia: Water and Conflict, Asia Report N°34, 30 May
Kyrgyzstan's Political Crisis: An Exit Strategy, Asia Report
N°37, 20 August 2002
The OSCE in Central Asia: A New Strategy, Asia Report
N°38, 11 September 2002
CentralAsia: The Politics of Police Reform, Asia Report N°42,
10 December 2002
Cracks in the Marble: Turkmenistan's Failing Dictatorship,
Asia Report N°44, 17 January 2003
Uzbekistan's Reform Program: Illusion or Reality?, Asia
Report N°46, 18 February 2003 (also available in Russian)
Tajikistan: A Roadmap for Development, Asia Report N°51,
24 April 2003
CentralAsia: Last Chance for Change, Asia Briefing N°25, 29
April 2003
Radical Islam in Central Asia: Responding to Hizb ut-Tahrir,
Asia Report N°58, 30 June 2003
Central Asia: Islam and the State, Asia Report N°59, 10 July
Youth in Central Asia: Losing the New Generation, Asia
Report N°66, 31 October 2003
Is Radical Islam Inevitable in Central Asia? Priorities for
Engagement, Asia Report N°72, 22 December 2003
The Failure of Reform in Uzbekistan: Ways Forward for the
International Community, Asia Report N°76, 11 March 2004
Tajikistan's Politics: Confrontation or Consolidation?, Asia
Briefing N°33, 19 May 2004
Political Transition in Kyrgyzstan: Problems and Prospects,
Asia Report N°81, 11 August 2004
Repression and Regression in Turkmenistan: A New
International Strategy, Asia Report N°85, 4 November 2004
(also available in Russian)
The Curse of Cotton: Central Asia's Destructive Monoculture,
Asia Report N°93, 28 February 2005 (also available in Russian)
Kyrgyzstan: After the Revolution, Asia Report N°97, 4 May
2005 (also available in Russian)
Uzbekistan: The Andijon Uprising, Asia Briefing N°38, 25
May 2005 (also available in Russian)
Taiwan Strait I: What's Left of "One China"?, Asia Report
N°53, 6 June 2003
Taiwan Strait II: The Risk of War, Asia Report N°54, 6 June
Taiwan Strait III: The Chance of Peace, Asia Report N°55, 6
June 2003
North Korea: A Phased Negotiation Strategy, Asia Report N°61,
1 August 2003
Taiwan Strait IV: How an Ultimate Political Settlement Might
Look, Asia Report N°75, 26 February 2004
North Korea: Where Next for the Nuclear Talks?, Asia Report
N°87, 15 November 2004 (also available in Korean and in
Korea Backgrounder: How the South Views its Brother from
Another Planet, Asia Report N°89, 14 December 2004 (also
available in Korean and in Russian)
North Korea: Can the Iron Fist Accept the Invisible Hand?,
Asia Report N°96, 25 April 2005 (also available in Korean and
in Russian)
Japan and North Korea: Bones of Contention, Asia Report
N°100, 27 June 2005 (also available in Korean)
China and Taiwan: Uneasy Detente, Asia Briefing N°42, 21
September 2005
Pakistan: The Dangers of Conventional Wisdom, Pakistan
Briefing N°12, 12 March 2002
Securing Afghanistan: The Need for More International
Action, Afghanistan Briefing N°13, 15 March 2002
The Loya Jirga: One Small Step Forward? Afghanistan &
Pakistan Briefing N°17, 16 May 2002
Kashmir: Confrontation and Miscalculation, Asia Report
N°35, 11 July 2002
Pakistan: Madrasas, Extremism and the Military, Asia Report
N°36, 29 July 2002
The Afghan Transitional Administration: Prospects and
Perils, Afghanistan Briefing N°19, 30 July 2002
Pakistan: Transition to Democracy? Asia Report N°40, 3
October 2002
Kashmir: The View From Srinagar, Asia Report N°41,21
November 2002
Afghanistan: Judicial Reform and Transitional Justice, Asia
Report N°45, 28 January 2003
Afghanistan: Women and Reconstruction, Asia Report N°48.
14 March 2003 (also available in Dari)
Pakistan: The Mullahs and the Military, Asia Report N°49,
20 March 2003
Nepal Backgrounder: Ceasefire - Soft Landing or Strategic
Pause?, Asia Report N°50, 10 April 2003
Afghanistan's Flawed Constitutional Process, Asia Report
N°56, 12 June 2003 (also available in Dari)
Nepal: Obstacles to Peace, Asia Report N°57, 17 June 2003
Afghanistan: The Problem of Pashtun Alienation, Asia
Report N°62, 5 August 2003
Peacebuilding in Afghanistan, Asia Report N°64, 29 September
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 48
Disarmament and Reintegration in Afghanistan, Asia Report
N°65, 30 September 2003
Nepal: Back to the Gun, Asia Briefing N°28, 22 October 2003
Kashmir: The View from Islamabad, Asia Report N°68, 4
December 2003
Kashmir: The View from New Delhi, Asia Report N°69, 4
December 2003
Kashmir: Learning from the Past, Asia Report N°70, 4
December 2003
Afghanistan:  The Constitutional Loya Jirga, Afghanistan
Briefing N°29, 12 December 2003
Unfulfilled Promises: Pakistan's Failure to Tackle Extremism,
Asia Report N°73, 16 January 2004
Nepal: Dangerous Plans for Village Militias, Asia Briefing
N°30, 17 February 2004 (also available in Nepali)
Devolution in Pakistan: Reform or Regression?, Asia Report
N°77, 22 March 2004
Elections and Security in Afghanistan, Asia Briefing N°31, 30
March 2004
India/Pakistan Relations and Kashmir: Steps toward Peace,
Asia Report N°79, 24 June 2004
Pakistan: Reforming the Education Sector, Asia Report N°84,
7 October 2004
Building Judicial Independence in Pakistan, Asia Report
N°86, 10 November 2004
Afghanistan: From Presidential to Parliamentary Elections,
Asia Report N°88, 23 November 2004
Nepal's Royal Coup: Making a Bad Situation Worse, Asia
Report N°91, 9 February 2005
Afghanistan: Getting Disarmament Back on  Track, Asia
Briefing N°35, 23 February 2005
Nepal: Responding to the Royal Coup, Asia Briefing N°35,
24 February 2005
Nepah Dealing with a Human Rights Crisis, Asia Report N°94,
24 March 2005
The State of Sectarianism in Pakistan, Asia Report N°95, 18
April 2005
Political Parties in Afghanistan, Asia Briefing N°39, 2 June
Towards a Lasting Peace in Nepal:   The  Constitutional
Issues, Asia Report N°99, 15 June 2005
Afghanistan Elections: Endgame or New Beginning?, Asia
Report N° 101, 21 July 2005
Nepal: Beyond Royal Rule, Asia Briefing N°41, 15 September
Authoritarianism and Political Party Reform in Pakistan,
Asia Report N°102, 28 September 2005
Indonesia: The Search for Peace in Maluku, Asia Report
N°31,8 February 2002
Aceh: Slim Chance for Peace, Indonesia Briefing, 27 March 2002
Myanmar: The Politics of Humanitarian Aid, Asia Report
N°32, 2 April 2002
Myanmar: The HIV/AIDS Crisis, Myanmar Briefing N°15, 2
April 2002
Indonesia: The Implications ofthe Timor Trials, Indonesia
Briefing N°16, 8 May 2002
Resuming U.S.-Indonesia Military Ties, Indonesia Briefing
N°18, 21 May 2002
Al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia: The case of the "Ngruki
Network" in Indonesia, Indonesia Briefing N°20, 8 August
Indonesia: Resources and Conflict in Papua, Asia Report
N°39, 13 September 2002
Myanmar: The Future of the Armed Forces, Asia Briefing
N°21, 27 September 2002
Tensions on Flores: Local Symptoms of National Problems,
Indonesia Briefing N°22, 10 October 2002
Impact of the Bali Bombings, Indonesia Briefing N°23, 24
October 2002
Indonesia Backgrounder: How the Jemaah Islamiyah
Terrorist Network Operates, Asia Report N°43, 11 December
Aceh: A Fragile Peace, Asia Report N°47, 27 February 2003
(also available in Indonesian)
Dividing Papua: How Not to Do It, Asia Briefing N°24, 9
April 2003
Myanmar Backgrounder: Ethnic Minority Politics, Asia Report
N°52, 7 May 2003
Aceh: Why the Military Option Still Won't Work, Indonesia
Briefing N°26, 9 May 2003 (also available in Indonesian)
Indonesia: Managing Decentralisation and Conflict in
South Sulawesi, Asia Report N°60, 18 July 2003
Aceh: How Not to Win Hearts and Minds, Indonesia Briefing
N°27, 23 July 2003
Jemaah Islamiyah in South East Asia: Damaged but Still
Dangerous, Asia Report N°63, 26 August 2003
The Perils of Private Security in Indonesia: Guards and
Militias on Bali and Lombok, Asia Report N°67, 7 November
Indonesia Backgrounder: A Guide to the 2004 Elections, Asia
Report N°71, 18 December 2003
Indonesia Backgrounder: Jihad in Central Sulawesi, Asia
Report N°74, 3 February 2004
Myanmar: Sanctions, Engagement or Another Way Forward?,
Asia Report N°78, 26 April 2004
Indonesia: Violence Erupts Again in Ambon, Asia Briefing
N°32, 17 May 2004
Southern Philippines Backgrounder: Terrorism and the Peace
Process, Asia Report N°80,13 July 2004 (also available in Bahasa)
Myanmar: Aid to the Border Areas, Asia Report N°82, 9
September 2004
Indonesia Backgrounder: Why Salafism and Terrorism Mostly
Don't Mix, Asia Report N°83, 13 September 2004
Burma/Myanmar: Update on HIV/AIDS policy, Asia Briefing
N°34, 16 December 2004
Indonesia: Rethinking Internal Security Strategy, Asia Report
N°90, 20 December 2004
Recycling Militants in Indonesia: Darul Islam and the
Australian Embassy Bombing, Asia Report N°92, 22 February
Decentralisation and Conflict in Indonesia: The Mamasa
Case, Asia Briefing N°37, 3 May 2005
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005 Page 49
Southern Thailand: Insurgency, Not Jihad, Asia Report N°98,
18 May 2005
Aceh: A New Chance for Peace, Asia Briefing N°40, 15 August
Weakening Indonesia's Mujahidin Networks: Lessons from
Maluku andPoso, Asia Report N°103, 13 October 2005
For Crisis Group reports and briefing papers on:
Latin America and Caribbean
Middle East and North Africa
Thematic Issues
please visit our website
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 50
Lord Patten of Barnes
Former European Commissioner for External Relations, UK
President & CEO
Gareth Evans
Former Foreign Minister of Australia
Executive Committee
Morton Abramowitz
Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador to Turkey
Emma Bonino
Member of European Parliament; former European Commissioner
Cheryl Carolus
Former South African High Commissioner to the UK; former
Secretary General ofthe ANC
Maria Livanos Cattaui*
Former Secretary-General, International Chamber of Commerce
Yoichi Funabashi
Chief Diplomatic Correspondent & Columnist, The Asahi Shimbun,
William Shawcross
Journalist and author, UK
Stephen Solarz*
Former U.S. Congressman
George Soros
Chairman, Open Society Institute
William O. Taylor
Chairman Emeritus, The Boston Globe, U.S.
Adnan Abu-Odeh
Former Political Adviser to King Abdullah II and to King Hussein;
former Jordan Permanent Representative to UN
Kenneth Adelman
Former U.S. Ambassador and Director of the Arms Control and
Disarmament Agency
Ersin Arioglu
Member of Parliament, Turkey; Chairman Emeritus, Yapi Merkezi
Diego Arria
Former Ambassador of Venezuela to the UN
Zbigniew Brzezinski
Former U.S. National Security Advisor to the President
Victor Chu
Chairman, First Eastern Investment Group, Hong Kong
Wesley Clark
Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe
Pat Cox
Former President of European Parliament
Ruth Dreifuss
Former President, Switzerland
Uffe Ellemann-Jensen
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Denmark
Mark Eyskens
Former Prime Minister of Belgium
Leslie H. Gelb
President Emeritus of Council on Foreign Relations, U.S.
Bronislaw Geremek
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Poland
I.K. Gujral
Former Prime Minister of India
Carla Hills
Former U.S. Secretary of Housing; former U.S. Trade Representative
Lena Hjelm-Wallen
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Sweden
James C.F. Huang
Deputy Secretary General to the President, Taiwan
Swanee Hunt
Chair of Inclusive Security: Women Waging Peace; former U.S.
Ambassador to Austria
Asma Jahangir
UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary
Executions; former Chair Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
Shiv Vikram Khemka
Founder and Executive Director (Russia) of SUN Group, India
James V. Kimsey
Founder and Chairman Emeritus of America Online, Inc. (AOL)
Bethuel Kiplagat
Former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kenya
Wim Kok
Former Prime Minister, Netherlands
Trifun Kostovski
Member of Parliament, Macedonia; founder ofKometal Trade Gmbh
Elliott F. Kulick
Chairman, Pegasus International, U.S.
Joanne Leedom-Ackerman
Novelist and journalist, U.S.
Todung Mulya Lubis
Human rights lawyer and author, Indonesia
Ayo Obe
Chair of Steering Committee of World Movement for Democracy,
Christine Ockrent
Journalist and author, France
 Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy
Crisis Group Asia Report N° 104, 27 October 2005
Page 51
Friedbert Pfliiger
Foreign Policy Spokesman ofthe CDU/CSUParliamentary Group
in the German Bundestag
Victor M. Pinchuk
Member of Parliament, Ukraine; founder oflnterpipe Scientific and
Industrial Production Group
Surin Pitsuwan
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Thailand
Itamar Rabinovich
President of Tel Aviv University; former Israeli Ambassador to the
U.S. and Chief Negotiator with Syria
Fidel V. Ramos
Former President ofthe Philippines
Lord Robertson of Port Ellen
Former Secretary General of NATO; former Defence Secretary, UK
Mohamed Sahnoun
Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Africa
Ghassan Salame
Former Minister Lebanon, Professor of International Relations, Paris
Salim A. Salim
Former Prime Minister of Tanzania; former Secretary General of
the Organisation of African Unity
Douglas Schoen
Founding Partner of Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, U.S.
Par Stenback
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Finland
Thorvald Stoltenberg
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway
Grigory Yavlinsky
Chairman ofYabloko Party and its Duma faction, Russia
Uta Zapf
Chairperson    of  the    German   Bundestag   Subcommittee    on
Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation
Ernesto Zedillo
Former President of Mexico; Director, Yale Center for the Study
of Globalization
Crisis Group's International Advisory Board comprises major individual and corporate donors who contribute their advice and
experience to Crisis Group on a regular basis.
Rita E. Hauser (Chair)
Marc Abramowitz
Anglo American PLC
APCO Worldwide Inc.
John Chapman Chester
Peter Corcoran
Credit Suisse Group
John Ehara
Equinox Partners
Thomas Harley
JP Morgan Global Foreign
Exchange and Commodities
George Kellner
George Loening
Douglas Makepeace
Anna Luisa Ponti
Baron Ullens
Michael L. Riordan
Sarlo Foundation ofthe Jewish
Community Endowment Fund
Tilleke & Gibbins
Stanley Weiss
Westfield Group
Don Xia
Yasuyo Yamazaki
Sunny Yoon
Crisis Group's Senior Advisers are former Board Members (not presently holding executive office) who maintain an association
with Crisis Group, and whose advice and support are called on from time to time.
Oscar Arias
Zainab Bangura
Christoph Bertram
Jorge Castaiieda
Eugene Chien
Gianfranco Dell'Alba
Alain Destexhe
Marika Fahlen
Stanley Fischer
Malcolm Fraser
Max Jakobson
Mong Joon Chung
Allan J. MacEachen
Barbara McDougall
Matt McHugh
George J. Mitchell
Cyril Ramaphosa
Michel Rocard
Volker Ruehe
Simone Veil
Michael Sohlman
Leo Tindemans
Ed van Thijn
Shirley Williams
As at October 2005


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