Pakistan’s elite SSG troops top list of world’s most formidable special units: Report

Published: May 25, 2015
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Soldiers of Special Services Group march past during a ceremony of Pakistan National Day. PHOTO: APP

Soldiers of Special Services Group march past during a ceremony of Pakistan National Day. PHOTO: APP

Pakistan’s elite special forces unit, army’s Special Services Group (SSG) has been listed as the best special forces group, ahead of units such as the US Navy SEALs and the British Special Air Service group.

The list, by Business Insider Australia ranked Pakistani commandos as the best of the nine top elite forces from around the world.

Called the ‘Black Storks’, due to the unique headgear worn, soldiers in the unit have to complete a 36-mile march in just 12 hours and a five-mile run in 20 minutes in full gear.

For operational reference, it mentioned the 2009 operation that the SSG conducted to rescue the 39 people held hostage by suspected Taliban militants who had attacked the army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi.

The SSG have been deployed in a number of operations in Pakistan from prison takeovers, to fighting terrorists in North Waziristan.

Read: Pakistan Day parade: Full dress rehearsal held

COAS meets Commanding Officer SSG unit during a visit to Miranshah Bazar. PHOTO: ISPR

Other forces making the list

Coming in second on the list were Spain’s Naval Special Warfare Force, and was called as one of Europe’s best respected special forces.

Next in line was Russia’s Naval Special Warfare Force ‘Alpha Group’, serving as the nation’s elite anti-terrorism unit.

France’s fabled 200-strong National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN), trained especially to respond to hostage situations, came in on four.

Israel’s Sayeret Matkal made it to the fifth spot. Its primary purpose is intelligence-gathering and operating deep behind enemy lines. Along with Mossad, it is suspected to have aided in carrying out a hit in Dubai using falsified passports.

The British Special Air Service (SAS), who have the famous motto ‘Who dares wins’, were listed on number six.

The UK equivalent of the Navy SEALs, Special Boat Service, came in on number seven. The unit specialises in intense training and interrogation.

The US Navy SEALS, a special unit of which carried out Operation Neptune Spear to kill Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in 2011 were listed on eight.

To join the SEALS, one has to prove they are the toughest warriors around and they are asked to prove this by completing a minimum of 42 push-ups in two minutes, 50 sit-ups in two minutes, and run 1.5 miles in 11 minutes before they even start training.

Read: The phantom soldiers

The last one on the list are the US Marines. It is an odd listing since they are not considered an elite unit.

They have a reputation of being pretty tough in their own right.

Marines undergo weeks of rigorous training exercises especially designed to overcome those who cannot hit their exacting standards.

The article first appeared on Business Insider Australia

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Reader Comments (91)

  • bangash
    May 26, 2015 - 12:14AM

    Indians not spotted…Recommend

  • AsR
    May 26, 2015 - 12:21AM

    Please send them to Afghanistan to capture Mullah Fazlullah.Recommend

  • Raifidi
    May 26, 2015 - 12:23AM

    While the SSG are a stellar unit, this report is silly and rife with errors.

    Firstly, the Russian Alpha Group is NOT a naval special operations unit. That function is fulfilled by the naval Spetsnaz brigade. The Alpha Group is the direct action unit of the Russian intelligence service, the FSB.

    Secondly, the British SBS DOES NOT do interrogations. It is a naval special operations unit although it is equally at home in non-maritime environments and has had several notable success in Afghanistan.

    I could go on but you get the gist of my argument.

    Lastly, a publication that goes by the name Business Insider is not what I would consider an authority on the military, much less a specialzed branch like special operations forces.Recommend

  • Usman Fayyaz
    May 26, 2015 - 12:24AM

    I heard of this story almost a week before in Australian Business insider and I shared it with various sites of Social Media. Not to sure why just only Tribune posting it today? However I don’t care what other media outlet thinking about it. Being from Land of 5 Rivers ( Pakistan) I proud of every single Soldiers and defender of Pakistan. Thanks God I’m Pakistani. Love you all my TigersRecommend

  • Faraz
    May 26, 2015 - 12:24AM

    Proud moment for all pakistanisRecommend

  • I wonder
    May 26, 2015 - 12:24AM

    This is good and a source of pride for us but as rational Pakistanis we must think how many times these elite units have been of help ( I dont want to list years here and be called an Indian so I will stay gentle) – Secondly, we should questions why this standard is not maintained throughout the armed forces? You have SSG, normal soldiers then NLC/FC etc. We must not forget that an army taking 26% of our tax money should be well trained so that every soldier is ‘elite’ and protect the lives of the citizens of Pakistan.Recommend

  • James Hutton
    May 26, 2015 - 12:27AM

    LOL…Stop dreaming..what a ridiculous article. To say that the UK SAS comes in 6th place is laughable…Recommend

  • zain
    May 26, 2015 - 12:40AM

    But my question is
    “why is Pakistan still considered one of the most unsafe countries in the world?”Recommend

  • Kushal
    May 26, 2015 - 12:52AM

    Ok so the Navy seals who raided and killed OBL is number six and the force who were caught sleeping is number one. Got the point.Recommend

  • Kushal
    May 26, 2015 - 12:52AM

    Ok so the Navy seals who raided and killed OBL is number six and the force who were caught sleeping is number one. Got the point.Recommend

  • Iqbal Hadi Zaidi
    May 26, 2015 - 12:54AM

    I am truly proud to pen that my Bhaijan Gen Pervez Musharraf belonged to SSG which is ranked number 1 on the face of earth. Iqbal Hadi Zaidi / Kuwait / zaidi4merdiplomat@hotmail.comRecommend

  • F Khan
    May 26, 2015 - 12:57AM

    The article have several errors in it with respect to the original Business Insider piece. SSG was ranked eighth out of eight on said list i.e. last in the profiled, not first. Secondly the troops are supposed to run 5 miles in 50 minutes, not 20 minutes which a professional distance runner would be hard pressed to do much less a soldier in full battle gear. Very impressed by our soldiers nonetheless, not so much by shoddy reporting.Recommend

  • Mansoor Hasan
    May 26, 2015 - 1:24AM

    The ranking is incorrect. The SSG are actually number 8 (out of 8) on their list published from Business Insider’s main U.S. affiliate. See: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-most-elite-special-forces-in-the-world-2015-5

    Also, the SSG’s training includes 36 miles crosscountry walk (57.6 km) in full gear in 9 hours, and not 12 hours as the article claims. Plus, they are required to run 4 miles (6.4 km) in 40 minutes in full gear (not 5 miles in 20 minutes as the article states).

    Also, you may want to reconsider relying on information and facts sourced from Business Insider. On the other side of the world, they are a known click-bait site. Lastly, the site’s owner (prior to creating the site) was charged with securities fraud and barred from the securities industry.Recommend

  • Emad
    May 26, 2015 - 1:32AM

    Based upon combat experience in the 21st century i think this is correct since no other elite force has been tested so many times and with so much success in the past few decades which includes wars with taliban and the soviet union. However i do believe that for specialized missions against a conventional army the SAS would definitely top the list just because they are spies, commandos and infiltrators all combined into one complete packageRecommend

  • ali sindhi
    May 26, 2015 - 1:55AM

    some one could explain “One of the most extraordinary episodes in the GIGN’s history was the seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca in 1979. Due to the prohibition on non-Muslims entering the holy city a team of three GIGN commandos briefly converted to Islam before helping the Saudi armed forces to plan the recapture of the mosque”. BRIEFLY….REALLY Recommend

  • Waseem
    May 26, 2015 - 1:58AM

    Proud of Pakistan army’s Special Services Group (SSG). They are true heroes.Recommend

  • Qasim Ali
    May 26, 2015 - 2:02AM

    SSG wasn’t ranked #1 but #8, so please change that.Recommend

  • sabi
    May 26, 2015 - 2:10AM

    Unfortunately some rogue generals have in the past used this pride of the nation against the nation instead against the enemy.Its good to know they got the appreciation the time they are used against terrorists by pro democracy coas.Recommend

  • Chaigram
    May 26, 2015 - 2:16AM

    I always believed that as true …..a collection of brave and very strong patriotic army group, who would penetrate deep inside the enemy territory causing maximum damage.
    We should be proud of them and yes gave credit where it is due…the ex-commando Pervaiz Musharraf.Recommend

  • Point
    May 26, 2015 - 2:22AM

    I know, i can understand the feelings of Indian defence minister ,and the Indian jobless jealous community here. I can feel it . your RAW has very few days to live in Pakistan, bye bye to them and bye bye to your proxy war :). Recommend

  • Ahmad
    May 26, 2015 - 2:36AM

    Proud of our troops, God Bless!Recommend

  • Waqas
    May 26, 2015 - 2:43AM

    Its a list build up by a website which does not even know anything about the SSG or most of the special forces listed in this article. The Business Insider Australia has copied this article from the the Business Insider US which has listed the SSG on No. 8 position and not on the top. You can check the link below. http://www.businessinsider.com/the-most-elite-special-forces-in-the-world-2015-5?op=1

    When you check the list on iPhone, the iPhone’s browser reorganize the listed in ascending order.Recommend

  • Azi
    May 26, 2015 - 3:05AM

    Watch Indians post the symptoms of their depression here.Recommend

  • Citizen26
    May 26, 2015 - 3:16AM

    Well done boys, keep up the good work.Recommend

  • Kam
    May 26, 2015 - 3:19AM

    Buck up guys keep it up. A lot depends on our red berets.Recommend

  • Erfan
    May 26, 2015 - 4:42AM

    “Business Insider Australia” :/Recommend

  • Kamal Ali
    May 26, 2015 - 4:57AM

    The ranking is incorrect. The SSG are actually number 8 (out of 8) on their list published from Business Insider’s main U.S. affiliate. See: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-most-elite-special-forces-in-the-world-2015-5

    Also, the SSG’s training includes 36 miles crosscountry walk (57.6 km) in full gear in 9 hours, and not 12 hours as the article claims. Plus, they are required to run 4 miles (6.4 km) in 40 minutes in full gear (not 5 miles in 20 minutes as the article states).

    Also, you may want to reconsider relying on information and facts sourced from Business Insider. On the other side of the world, they are a known click-bait site. Lastly, the site’s owner (prior to creating the site) was charged with securities fraud and barred from the securities industry.Recommend

  • Kishan
    May 26, 2015 - 5:01AM

    ET ban Indian trolls from any news regarding our institutions or army. They are just noise that disrupt any meaningful discussions. Recommend

  • peace
    May 26, 2015 - 5:10AM

    Great soldiers. Salute to the brave men.Recommend

  • Mumnoon Tappi
    May 26, 2015 - 5:18AM

    Not sure what is the accuracy of this article. Maybe it is one of the feel good onesRecommend

  • JSM
    May 26, 2015 - 6:32AM

    Pray tell us what have they achieved?Recommend

  • Philosiraptor
    May 26, 2015 - 6:51AM

    Be careful when Western press panders you, it means something is coming this way.Recommend

  • Vegetable Man
    May 26, 2015 - 6:52AM

    Was the list bought from Axact?Recommend

  • Azam Khan
    May 26, 2015 - 7:13AM

    @James Hutton:
    Laugh at yourself James if you have to. Over confidence my friend.Recommend

  • Amir
    May 26, 2015 - 7:14AM

    @Kushal:
    Mr. Kus We can feel your heat.Recommend

  • Imran
    May 26, 2015 - 7:36AM

    For God’s sake man….. looks like everyone is as stupid as the author. Has anyone even seen the article??? SSG is ranked 10 …. not 1. It is a count down starting from number 10 to number 1. Look for yourself. Here is the link
    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-most-elite-special-forces-in-the-world-2015-5Recommend

  • Alien1
    May 26, 2015 - 8:02AM

    @Point: be safe kid, the taliban are all set to rip ur forces again.Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    May 26, 2015 - 8:04AM

    Another bogus headline by ET which did not bother to verify the source material!Recommend

  • Pak
    May 26, 2015 - 8:05AM

    Pak is numero uno in every category the world, still we are the pariah of the world. wonder why?Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    May 26, 2015 - 8:11AM

    Hope they remain best in the world forever and never used again to remove or arrest elected Presidents and Prime Ministers.Recommend

  • Aat
    May 26, 2015 - 8:12AM

    For those who can’t count, the list goes from bottom to top with 9 written first and 1 written last. It’s international writing standard – count bottom to top, not top to bottom. LOOK at the numbers.
    Further to the white guy laughing up top, go bother the Australians who did the ranking and stop crying you’ve been outranked. This is Pakistan – and you keep watching Fox News for your brainwashing.

    We win. Recommend

  • Irfan
    May 26, 2015 - 8:44AM

    This news is a source of great comfort to the millions of Pakistanis without access to toilets.Recommend

  • Sharath Chandra
    May 26, 2015 - 9:00AM

    The Speical services are expected to fight not run.Recommend

  • Jibran
    May 26, 2015 - 9:02AM

    Soldiers in the unit have to complete a 36-mile march in just 12 hours and a five-mile run in 20 minutes in full gear.

    Seriously? Where were these Olympics held and who was the organizer? Grande Armée used to march 30 kilometers per 8-hour day back in 1800s with all the supply lines, and hundreds of thousands of troops.Recommend

  • rizwan
    May 26, 2015 - 9:07AM

    india…stop crying like a child. :PRecommend

  • Iced Spore
    May 26, 2015 - 9:08AM

    Hicham El Guerrouj is the current men’s record holder with his time of 3:43.13 to run one mile. Now do the math, to run 5 miles in 20 mins. It means that we should enter the SSG at the next Olympics, medals galore for every one! Did this report come from Axact?Recommend

  • Virkaul
    May 26, 2015 - 9:14AM

    @AsR:
    SSG should have been able to do that.Recommend

  • Kris
    May 26, 2015 - 9:22AM

    Why Pakistan has lost ALL wars and half their country?Recommend

  • Raja
    May 26, 2015 - 9:55AM

    @Kushal:
    Failure of intelligence agencies (If a failure although its highly doubted that it was a failure. It could be planned) in some matter doesn’t render all forces of that country useless.Recommend

  • Indian
    May 26, 2015 - 9:59AM

    Yikes! I hope they don’t capture India and hoist Pakistani flag atop Red Fort!!Recommend

  • Shakti
    May 26, 2015 - 10:03AM

    Running? Jumping?? Swimming???
    Planning on taking on Tipu’s army?
    You need those skills when you have lost the battle and want to make a quick getaway! We’ll just use our snipers to take them out. Thank you very much!Recommend

  • neat
    May 26, 2015 - 10:05AM

    So the Indian special unit is called LAME!…oh OK! suits themRecommend

  • amar saleem
    May 26, 2015 - 10:21AM

    yes SSG is really have a great job in all fields. they deserve this place.i have seen many special squad.but SSG really looking wonderful.i think now pakistan is much difference in def fence position as they are in some years age due to their cable army and special units…Recommend

  • amar saleem
    May 26, 2015 - 10:25AM

    yes .its face SSG really now one of the best squad due to his ultra efficiency in the filed of battle.;.the most strongest person in military as been selected for the SSG course..and than after a big deadliest and amazing training they few have been selected for the SSG..to place this in world best squad is not a big news.they already deserve this post. Recommend

  • Harinder Singh
    May 26, 2015 - 10:26AM

    And exactly how many wars have the “best” commando units won for you?
    Or are they also like the “best” intelligence agency in the world?Recommend

  • Thumder
    May 26, 2015 - 10:45AM

    According to business inside PAkistan SSG is number 8 and USA SEAL is #1.

    ET: please make the correction.Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    May 26, 2015 - 11:07AM

    What are SSG’s notable achievements in a wartime scenario? Unleashing Zaarar Company on women, children and men at Lal Masjid cannot be considered a battle trophy which would lead to an elite unit being bracketed with world’s best. A creme da la creme force which cannot even prevent a suicide bombing outside it’s HQ at Tarbela Ghazi, does not qualify to be “World’s most formidable.”

    Such “Elite Units” in third world countries are more often than not used to suppress their own dissenting populace and scale over the walls of PM House during a a coup de ta. SSG is no different from the Republican Guards of Iraq and Syria.Recommend

  • Anti Mulla
    May 26, 2015 - 11:46AM

    @Mansoor Hasan:
    Thanks for de-sensationalizing the non news.Recommend

  • Kyani
    May 26, 2015 - 11:50AM

    Regarding the Order of the ranking, also visit the following link which ranks SSG at the top

    http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-most-elite-special-forces-in-the-world-2015-5#1-the-special-services-group-ssg-in-pakistan-is-better-known-in-the-country-as-the-black-storks-due-to-the-commandos-unique-headgear-training-reportedly-includes-a-36-mile-march-in-12-hours-and-a-five-mile-run-in-20-minutes-in-full-gear-13

    I wonder everyone has found a link for 8 position of SSG but not a single one for top of the list. Still whatever be the position, SSG is one of the top nine elits units and India hasn’t secured none.Proud to be Pakistani, Proud to be a nation of Tigers.Recommend

  • Last Word
    May 26, 2015 - 12:27PM

    ET please rewrite the whole article as your writer has either goofed it up or shown shear patriotism, not realising that all information is easily available on net. Nevertheless, its good news for Pakistanis to be proud of being rated amongst the best eight elite forces. However, India does not require recognition from foreign agencies as it has a brilliant track record including all UN missions which the latter prefers Indian army for its distinguish services. Recommend

  • Timorlane
    May 26, 2015 - 1:13PM

    May God save them from blight like musharrafs Recommend

  • Alien1
    May 26, 2015 - 1:19PM

    Looks like the guy/lady who posted the article got his/her degree from ‘axact’ software company.Recommend

  • Kam
    May 26, 2015 - 2:33PM

    Pakistan lost all it’s wars? US became only super-power first time in history there was just one super power because Pakistanis defeated Russia in Afghanistan. Pakistan decisively defeated Taliban in Swat and now in waziristan while all super powers from Mughals to Americans just packed there bags with defeat or no real success. 1971 was result of internal strife India just took advantage of it and stabbed in back. Recommend

  • adeel abbas
    May 26, 2015 - 3:01PM

    Top rank given by “Business Insider Australia”.

    Yes, Who says they are not the best in doing “business”?Recommend

  • unbelievable
    May 26, 2015 - 4:18PM

    The US Navy SEALS, a special unit of which carried out Operation Neptune Spear to kill Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in 2011 were listed on eight.
    .
    Actually they are listed as number 1. If your going to write an article based on someone elses work at least take the time to read the freaking article.Recommend

  • syed baqar ahsan
    May 26, 2015 - 4:32PM

    For this reason our army is provoked,maligned,teased,targeted,lured and tarnished by all those who always came prepared to break our country but failed miserably.All our friends were united to separate East Pakistan. Recommend

  • waqas
    May 26, 2015 - 6:41PM

    @Kushal:
    Apply cold water on burned areas, you’ll feel better :) Recommend

  • romm
    May 27, 2015 - 12:15AM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    That would be the best employment of SSG as they have come into power through Illegitimate elections. Recommend

  • Zee
    May 27, 2015 - 3:43AM

    You must laugh because it’s on 6th@James Hutton: Recommend

  • Khurram
    May 27, 2015 - 3:52AM

    @Kushal:
    You’re acting like a typical Indian clearly overlooking the situation. If it were known that OBL was hiding there SSG would surely been dispatched. Just like the US couldn’t stop 9/11 from happening, OBL’s location was first tracked by the Americans and hence attacked. Btw, was India able to stop 26/11? Recommend

  • No nonsense
    May 27, 2015 - 8:22AM

    No India on the list???? Very sad!!! But plz don’t cry..!! Do something other then showing concern for PakistanRecommend

  • JSM
    May 27, 2015 - 8:41AM

    @No nonsense:
    We are a peace loving country.Recommend

  • satender rajput
    May 27, 2015 - 9:23AM

    @bangash:
    relax friend….

    Indian armed force didn’t participate in any type of ranking for secretive purpose!! ….enjoy your rank.Recommend

  • HelloWorld
    May 27, 2015 - 10:19AM

    Wonder where the SSG was when bin laden was spirited away by a foreign force from inside pakistan. By the way, its kind of strange that a business magazine would rank military forces. After fake degrees, is this fake ranking?Recommend

  • Such baat!
    May 27, 2015 - 10:57AM

    @ Adnan Sidiqqui.. Oh my dear king of Indian Troll! They say don’t open your mouth if you do not ihave something concrete to say….!!! This ranking for your info is not done by Pakistan Army or for that matter by SSG. SSG is not an intelligence outfit it’s a pure bred and hardcore physical assault force! It does not prevent suicide attacks from happening which for that matter no one does! Wait for this phenomenon to hit ur country India and then I will ask you how to prevent it. Recommend

  • Mobeen Khattak
    May 27, 2015 - 11:42AM

    We r living in an sensitive and strategic country and which is a muslim country having Nukes. So many agencies r working to destabalize us where every1 is being feeded like Balochs in Balochistan, ANP in KPK and MQM in khi and you should be Thankful to Alimighty we have strong and organized ARMY other wise look at conditions in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen etcRecommend

  • Azeez
    May 27, 2015 - 12:59PM

    It’s a fake news, a Pakistani behind this Business insider Australia.He should be punished under the cyber crime act.Recommend

  • Azeez
    May 27, 2015 - 1:22PM

    Pakistan is the only super power in this world.Recommend

  • Azeez
    May 27, 2015 - 1:25PM

    @ Q with Ahmed qureshi behind this business insider Australia.Recommend

  • Ali Asghar
    May 28, 2015 - 6:15AM

    and yet this country has the highest crime per capitaRecommend

  • name
    May 28, 2015 - 10:45AM

    @Alien1:
    Mr.Alien they have also ripped through the western forces as well, who are now fleeing afghanistan, defeated.Recommend

  • umair
    May 28, 2015 - 4:54PM

    Pakistan zindabadRecommend

  • Pakistani Tiger
    Jul 3, 2015 - 6:53PM

    @Kris:
    Pakistan only lost war in Bangal and that time indians play negative role. In 1965 Pakistan won the war ok. and indian president goes to UN for requesting to play role to stop this war. in 1999 Pakistan capture the main head point of indians and again india takes help of UN and then Pakistani president give order to come back and indian army attack from behind and show they win. Actual they lose every war. every non-Muslim support each other Vs a Muslim. Keep it up ;)Recommend

  • Kris
    Jul 4, 2015 - 8:35AM

    @Pakistani Tiger:
    The FACT is Pakistan lost ALL wars and half its country. No amount of re-writing history or shouting from roof tops will not change facts. Come to terms with it and move on, live in peace.Recommend

  • Ray
    Aug 25, 2015 - 11:36AM

    is this a joke?
    as a member of a special force that was mantioned in the article i idsagree with the first 2 choices completley!

    where is GROM(Poland), S13(Israel), KSK(Germany), Canadian JTF???

    Pakistanian?
    They are known through out the SF community to be unreliable.Recommend

  • Sep 5, 2015 - 4:24AM

    No one can defeat the ones who prefer being martyr (shahadat) over life. when there is great achievement of being martyr at one side and horrible defeat of enemy at other side then dynamics of fight change and what happens is beyond the understanding of logicians.. don’t look at our budget don’t look at our number… we have history of defeating the enemies of large size and budget.. starting from badder (first ghazwa) to 800-1000 years rule over india… every time we were less in number and budget than the enemies… Recommend

  • Ahmad
    Sep 9, 2015 - 4:56PM

    One of the best special forces in the world. Deserve that.Recommend

  • Ahmad
    Sep 9, 2015 - 4:57PM

    Well doneRecommend

  • Ahmed
    Oct 7, 2015 - 2:01PM

    @bangash:

    Do you think India merit being included in the list, with handful of terrorist captured its business capital for days Recommend

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