Armed groups in post-war Nepal have perennially splintered, merged and dwindled and so it is impossible to know exactly how many there have been. In 2009, the government put out a list of 109 armed groups that it said were active in Nepal. The vast majority were based in the Tarai, but those claiming to fight for Janajati rights, concentrated mainly in eastern Nepal, were also well represented. Pro-Hindu/monarchy groups, such as the Nepal Defence Army, which was responsible for a bomb blast in a Catholic church in Kathmandu in early 2009 that killed two people, were listed as well.
The armed groups were able to take advantage of the fluid situation of the political transition, and a state that was both weak and focused on managing the peace process. There was also a security vacuum in the hinterland since, during the conflict, the Maoists had destroyed much of the security infrastructure after the police retreated mainly to district headquarters. A total of 768 police posts lay destroyed or damaged by the end of the Maoist conflict. In rural Tarai and other parts of Nepal where these groups were active, the main impact of the post-conflict violence was in creating an administrative void, since the secretaries in charge of the Village Development Committees fled to the district headquarters.
However, despite pervasive fears relating to the security situation, the first Constituent Assembly election was held in 2008 without disruption. With the gradual reconsolidation of the state that followed, efforts were made to begin talks with the armed groups and, starting in December 2008, the government signed agreements with some of them. The main deal at the heart of these agreements was that the government would treat members of these groups as political activists, while in return the groups would help to bring other armed groups to the negotiating table. It is instructive that many of these agreements contain no mention of any demands having been discussed.