Abstract Why and how do host-states resist contemporary peacekeeping missions? This article puts forward the argument that host-state resistance against peacekeepers is a strategy to balance challenges to the internal and external faces of a civil war state’s sovereignty. Government officials might see an intense counter-insurgency campaign as an effective way to regain the monopoly on violence and thus strengthen the internal sovereignty of the state, but this will often lead to criticism from the international community and thus also lead to an erosion of the external sovereignty of the state. Conversely, the acceptance of a peacekeeping mission can strengthen a civil war state’s external sovereignty as this acceptance signals a willingness to manage armed violence, but the deployment of peacekeepers is at the expense of internal sovereignty as it often limits the ability of government troops to conduct their counter-insurgency efforts. States can resolve this dilemma by accepting a peacekeeping mission to prop up their external sovereignty, but at the same time trying to limit the effectiveness of peacekeepers in those areas where peacekeeping activities potentially interfere with the efforts of government troops to regain the monopoly on the use of violence. The article zooms in on how the Sudanese government accepted the deployment of the United Nations–African Union Peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), but at the same undermined its civilian protection efforts, though other cases are considered as well.