Chapter 3: Meth militias: the Myanmar–China border region
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Myanmar’s northern Kachin and Shan states, in close proximity to the Chinese border, are the subject of Chapter 3. The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) is one of the most prominent ethnic armed organisations in Myanmar, with an estimated 10,000 troops. In Shan State, groups such as the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) are active. Myanmar is also one of the main countries of origin for the smuggling of illegal drugs, natural resources, migrant workers, and trafficked people in the region, much of which are smuggled across the border into China. But while groups like the KIA are commonly accused of producing and smuggling drugs, much of the meth originates from areas that are controlled by state-affiliated militias.