Abdur Rahman Shaheed was born to a Pashtun Rohilla family in Princely State of Rampoor, Indo-Pak Sub-continent. He was educated at Bishop Cotton School, Shimla and later at La Martiniere, Lucknow. His family moved to Pakistan during the Partition of India.
Akhtar Abdur Rahman was commissioned in the then Indian Army on 16 February, 1947. He was later made GOC of the 12th Infantry Division. It was from this position that the general was promoted to head the Pakistani premier intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence.
General Akhtar Abdur Rahman Shaheed (R.E.) was one of the most favorite and famous Generals of Pakistani Army. Due to his achievement and services he was awarded by Hilal-e-Imtiaz, Nishan-e-Imtiaz, and Sitara-e-Basalat. He served army from 1947 to 1988 and fought the wars of 1965 and 1971. He became the Director of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the World’s one of the most powerful intelligence agency, during the 1980s. Gen. Abdur Rahman was the mastermind behind the Afghan Mujahideen against the Soviet Union.
On promotion to the rank of General, he was appointed Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, succeeding Pakistani General Rahimuddin Khan in 1979.
He died in a mysterious plane crash which was organized by CIA and that also killed then President Zia-ul-Haq and many other top generals heading the Soviet War in Afghanistan, along with an American ambassador to Pakistan.
Akhtar's son, Humayun Akhtar Khan, was the Minister of Commerce in the government headed by Pervez Musharraf till February, 2008. Akhtar is projected as one of the most successful generals and as great hero by the military establishment in Pakistan, who plotted the Afghan Jihad very efficiently.