Time Out With Ta’ang Rebels

Time Out With Ta’ang Rebels

A TNLA soldier on alert at the frontline near Lwel Khan village in Kyauk Mae Township in northern Shan State. (photo: JPaing / The Irrawaddy)

A TNLA soldier on alert at the frontline near Lwel Khan village in Kyauk Mae Township in northern Shan State. (photo: JPaing / The Irrawaddy)

The ethnic Palaung, also known as the Ta’ang, are a hill tribe people mostly living in northern Shan State. Like many other ethnic groups, they have waged an armed struggle against the Burmese government since 1963.

After the Palaung State Liberation Organization signed a ceasefire with the former military government in 1991 (and disarmed in 2005), another Palaung army known as the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) was established by the Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF) to continue the fight for equality and self-determination.

With 1,500 troops today, the TNLA has no fixed headquarters but runs mobile operations in

northern Shan State. They fight alongside other ethnic rebel groups, including the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Shan State Army (SSA).

President Thein Sein’s government has met with PSLF and TNLA leaders at least two times, most recently in 2013, in a bid to strengthen trust, but clashes have continued.

The KIA and the TNLA are the only ethnic armed groups that do not currently have bilateral ceasefires with the government.


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