Mong Tai Army


Mong Tai Army
   (MTA)
   In the Shan language, Mong Tai means "Shan State," thus "Shan State Army." Commanded by the drugdealing warlord Khun Sa, it was one of the most powerful ethnic minority armed groups in the early 1990s, with a total armed strength of as many as 19,000 guerrillas. Although Khun Sa voiced his commitment to Shan patriotism, the MTA, with its power base primarily in central and southern Shan State and its headquarters at Homong near the border with Thailand, played a major role in the profitable export of opium and heroin to international markets. In January 1996, Khun Sa surrendered to the State Law and Order Restoration Council, which was a blow to Shan (Tai) nationalists, who saw his armed group as a means of defending the interests of their people. With its collapse, the Tatmadaw was able to gain effective control in much of central Shan State and carried out extensive forced relocations. The SLORC-MTAagreement was different from other post-1988 cease-fires because the armed group broke up rather than continuing an autonomous existence like the Kachin Independence Organization or the United Wa State Army (the increasingly powerful UWSA played an important role in SLORC's pre-1996 strategy of softening up the MTA). Composed of MTAveterans, the Shan State Army (South) continues to resist the State Peace and Development Council in central Shan State.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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