Paramilitary forces have been used in many different military and conflict situations by states, alongside formal professional army and military forces. The term is subjective and leaves much room for interpretation and for conceptualization of what actually constitutes a military force, as well as the status and role that it can and should have. Such groups vary considerably from one place to another. The overall status, role, and power between paramilitaries can differ significantly based on the discourse accompanying them, in addition to the context in which they are created, train, operate, and are disbanded.

Paramilitaries is an umbrella term, encompassing irregular military forces, militias, guerrilla forces, insurgent forces, private military companies, and mercenaries, as well as police and auxiliary forces. It also refers to many ...

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