Special Services Group
The Special Service Group, (codename: SSG; or SSG(Army), also known as Black Storks are a special operations force of Pakistan Army, mandated with ten primary and special missions: asymmetric warfare, special operations, Counter-proliferation, unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, hostage rescue, counter-terrorism, and personnel recovery. It is an elite force similar to the United States Army Special Forces (Green Berets) and the British Army's SAS.[citationneeded] The special service regularly conducts its exercises with U.S. Special Forces, Chinese Special Operations Forces, and Special Air Service of the United Kingdom.
The actual strength is highly classified.[citationneeded] Due to operational scope, the estimated figures have been increased to seven battalions, with the eventual formation of three combat brigade teams of special forces (10 battalions).
The Special Service Group is currently commanded by of General Officer Commanding, Major-General Furrukh Bashir
SSG officers must have at least five years of prior military experience and volunteer from other formations for two-year assignments with the SSG; non-commissioned officers and enlisted men volunteer from other formations to serve permanently in the SSG. All trainees must participate in an eight month SSG course at Cherat. The SSG course emphasizes physical conditioning, including a 36-mile march in 12 hours and a five mile run in 40 minutes with full gear. Following the SSG course, trainees must go through the airborne training to get their commando wings from the SSG Airborne School. The course lasts four weeks, with wings awarded after five day-jumps and three night-jumps.The SSG recruits get trained in hand-to-hand combat training and very hard physical fitness training only about 5% recruits make it through to the Pakistan SSG due to the very tough training course.
Many in the SSG school are selected for additional specialist training. A HALO[citationneeded]course is given at Peshawar with a "Skydiver" tab awarded after 25 freefall jumps. A "Mountain Warfare" qualification badge is given after completing a course at the Mountain Warfare School in Abbottabad. A "Combat Diver" badge is awarded for the course held by the Naval Special Services Group SSGN at Karachi.