Covert Action Division

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Covert Action Division
Flag of the Pakistani Army.svg
Agency overview
JurisdictionGovernment of Pakistan
HeadquartersIslamabad, Pakistan
Agency executive
Parent agencyInter-Services Intelligence (ISI)
Inter-Services Intelligence
Agency overview
JurisdictionGovernment of Pakistan
Agency executive
Parent departmentIntelligence

Covert Action Division (CAD) is generally considered the most secretive special operations force of Pakistan. It is responsible for paramilitary and covert operations as well as special activities. It is tasked to collect intelligence in dense hostile environments and act as a special warfare unit of ISI.


These operatives often operate in remote locations behind enemy lines to carry out direct action (including raids and sabotage), counter-intelligence, guerrilla or unconventional warfare, counter-terrorism, and hostage rescue missions, in addition to being able to conduct espionage via HUMINT assets.

History of battles[edit]

  • 2013–Present (Operation Zarb-e-Azab)
  • 2007 (Operation Silence)
  • 2001–Present (War in North West Pakistan)
  • 2000–Present (War On Terror In Blochistan)
  • 2000-2015 (Indo Pak border skirmishes and war on terror)
  • 1998-1999 (Kargil War)
  • 1980-1987 (Soviet War in Afghanistan, Siachen conflict)
  • 1971-1972 (Indo Pak War)
  • 1971 (Bangladesh Liberation War)
  • 1964-1965 (Indo Pak War)
  • 1965 (Operation Gibraltar)
  • 1948-2015 (LOC border skirmishes)
  • Several undisclosed operations

History and formation[edit]

After the formation of ISI in 1948, Pakistan faced a challenge in the Tribal Agencies of Waziristan caused by Faqir of Ipi. In response, a group of die-hard persons from the militia and Gilgit scouts were trained. They formed new directorate of ISI. Their main task was to counter the influence of Faqir of Ipi and to delay any Afghan incursion until the main force of the Pakistan Army arrives. Until November 1954 unit was mostly aimed to counter insurgency in Waziristan but after that, its role was slowly expanded new unit was raised in East Pakistan in order to assist insurgents in India's North-East. Its role was expanded in the late 1960s to assist the Sikh Home Rule Movement of London-based Charan Singh Panchi, which was subsequently transformed into the so-called Khalistan Movement, headed by Jagjit Singh Chauhan. In the 1960s they were known to West but only their name but in 1980 the unit received training from CIA to assisted Afghan Mujahideen after the Soviet invasion. The unit also took part in many battles against Soviets. Little is known about unit as it is one of the most classified elements of the Pakistan Defense establishment, working with a limited number of senior officers.


CAD operatives are trained in home developed tactics. They are also trained in to a high level of proficiency in the use and tactical employment of an unusually wide degree of modern weaponry, IEDs and IWs IITM, explosive devices and firearms (foreign and domestic), hand-to-hand combat, high performance/tactical driving (on and off road), apprehension avoidance (including picking handcuffs and escaping from confinement), improvised explosive devices, cyber warfare, covert channels, parachuting, SCUBA diving, proficiency in foreign languages, surreptitious entry operations (picking or otherwise bypassing locks), vehicle hot-wiring, survival, evasion, resistance and escape (SERE), extreme survival and wilderness training, combat EMS medical training, tactical communications, and tracking.


Today it consists of personnel from SSG, SSW, and SSGN on deputation, police force personnel from whole country and its own highly trained personnel.