top of page

Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)

The Kosovo Liberation Army was an ethnic Albanian separatist militia which fought for the separation of Kosovo and its independence from Serbia. Despite constitutionally belonging to Serbia, the vast majority of Kosovo is inhabited by ethnic Albanians. During its existence, the KLA was designated as a terrorist group by the Former Yugoslav Republic.

Kosovo became an ethnically-Albanian majority under Tito’s ruling of Yugoslavia. Given the omnipresence of mines and natural resources in Kosovo, the Yugoslav leader had invited Albanian workers to Kosovo. These workers eventually settled for generations and — over time — installed an ethnically-Albanian majority in the region. During the 1990s, Yugoslavia began to dissolve as a whole and the KLA fought on behalf of Kosovo’s separation.

Ideologically, the KLA not only fought for Kosovo’s sovereignty but also believed in a “Greater Albania” which would encompass all historical and ethnic Albanian territories (from Kosovo, Montenegro, and even northern Greece).

The KLA’s armed movement finds its roots in the late 1980s, when Kosovars adopted armed resistance to Yugoslav police trying to take Albanian activists in custody. Later on in the early 1990s, the newly-formed (and now consolidated) KLA orchestrated attacks on police forces and secret-service officials. When the Bosnian War and the Croatian War of Independence ended in 1995, the KLA continued its political struggle and, in 1998, was even involved in direct asymmetric battle with the Serbian National Army.

The KLA was supported by all NATO allies both military and economically. The insurgency received most of its funds from NATO members and Albania, although some allegations suggest it may also have received funds through Albanian narco-trafficking. After an ethnic cleansing campaign led by the Serbs in 1999 — NATO intervened directly in the region. NATO’s involvement in this conflict remains heavily controversial as its bombings in Belgrade led to numerous civilian casualties and often targeted unrelated buildings.

NOTE: This article will be updated soon.



bottom of page