Naseem Rana

Naseem Rana
Naseem Rana
Birth name Naseem Rana
Nickname Night Rider
Born September 20, 1942 (1942-09-20) (age 69)
Rawalpindi, British Punjab, British Indian Empire
Allegiance  Pakistan
Service/branch  Pakistan Army
Years of service 1964-1999
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant-General
Unit Pakistan Army Corps of Signals
Commands held Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)
XII Corps
Weapon and Equipment Directorate
85th Signals Division
Combat Development Directorate
40th Army Infantry Division
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistani war of 1965
Indo-Pakistani Winter war of 1971
Soviet war in Afghanistan
Pakistan war in Afghanistan
Awards Sitara-e-Jurat
Other work Secretary of Defence.

Lieutenant-General Naseem Rana (Urdu: نسيم رانا; born 20 September 1942) is a retired three-star general in the Pakistan Army, who in the course of Pakistan war in Afghanistan, played a pivotal role in leading the ISI in promoting Pakistani Interest during the Afghanistan Civil War to provide help to irregular hardline Taliban forces against the Indian and Russian backed [[Northern Alliance][1]]. He was the director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence from 1995 to October 1998, in which, he was responsible for gathering information against the Northern Alliance and provided his backing to the Taliban which later defeated the Northern Alliance and occupied around much of the Afghanistan.


Military career

Rana was born in middle class and stricken family of Rawalpindi, British Indian Empire in 1942, in the midst of World war II. After receiving his initial education, Rana went on to join the Pakistan Military Academy in 1960 as he received the letter of acceptance. Rana' gained his B.Sc. in Information technology and specialized in military communications. After his graduation, Rana was given commissioned in the Corps of Signals Engineering on 19 April 1964.[2] Rana participated in Indo-Pakistani war of 1965 and led a Signals platoon. After the war, Rana was sent to complete a military staff course in Quetta. In 1967, Rana joined the Command and Staff College in Quetta and where he gained M.Sc. in Military science in 1969. Following his degree, Rana was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and commanded the Signal battalion.

Stationed close to Indo-Pakistan border, Rana' commanded the Signals battlion during the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971. After the war, Rana' served in Lahore and later joined the National Defence University in 1974. In 1976, Rana obtained M.Sc. in Operational analysis and was promoted to the rank of Colonel. Following his degree, Rana was made Colonel on the Staff of the 40th Army Infantry Division and served there until 1980. In 1981, Rana went to United States and attended the United States Army Command and General Staff College.

Staff appointments

Rana is a prominent attendee of the international Defence Management course in the United States where he gained specialized degree in operational and command analysis in 1984.[2] After his education, Rana began in active duty and was stationed near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border where major battle against Soviet Union and her ally Soviet Afghanistan was undertaking. As part of the successful covert operations, Rana remained a vital part in the war and coordinated joint operations in the war. In 1989, Rana was made instructor at the School of Infantry and Tactics, and academic professor at the Command and Staff College Quetta during the period between 1989 till 1991. In 1991, Rana was promoted to 1-star Brigadier General and was made director-general of the Combat Development Directorate, and in 1993, he was made directorate-general of the Weapon and Equipment Directorate. In 1994, Rana was promoted to Major-General was made General Officer Commanding of the 85th Signals Division in the Peshawar. In two week, he was made the General Officer Commanding of the 40th Army Infantry Division in Peshawar where he supervised covert support to Pakistan-based Taliban forces fighting against the Northern Alliance.[2]

In 1995 critical developments were taking place in Afghanistan. Therefore, Chief of Army Staff of that time, General Abdul Waheed Kakar appointed him as the Director of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Civil War in Afghanistan

In 1996, a wide spread of insurgency was spread in all over the Afghanistan. Rana commanded the ISI. In 1997, independent brigades of 40th Infantry and the Frontier Force Regiment moved to protect the Pakistan Border from any infiltrations

Defence Secretary

Shortly after General Musharraf installed a military government, Rana was appointed as the Defence Secretary, a post he headed as Lieutenant-General until 2001. As Defence Secretary, Rana oversaw the victory of Taliban in Afghanistan in 2000 where Taliban had control over 90% of the country based on his intelligence support. As aftermath of terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, General Musharraf immediately removed him from the post as he was one of the primary planner and figure in the conflict that arise the Taliban in Afghanistan. Within days, Rana was re-located and decided to remained silence, and lives a quiet life in Islamabad.


During the 1995 till 2001, Rana was the central planner in Pakistan war in Afghanistan where he was responsible for coordinating military, intelligence, and strategic operations against the Northern Alliance. His role in the Pakistan war in Afghanistan was vital as he served as the commander of entire Pakistan Army's combatant elements in the Afghanistan. In 2005, Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa, one of Pakistan's top military scientist, wrote and published a book, titled "The Military Economy" providing the accounts of his military involvements in Afghanistan. Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa rendered him as Georgy Zhukov of Pakistan, due to his resemblance to Georgy Zhukov. She also noted in her book over his operational leadership that was highly compared to Georgy Zhukov by dr. Siddiqa.


External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Javed Ashraf Qazi
Director-General of the ISI
1995 – 1998
Succeeded by
Ziauddin Butt
Political offices
Preceded by
Iftikhar Ali Khan
Defence Secretary of Pakistan
1999 – 2001
Succeeded by
Hamid Nawaz Khan

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