Artificial neural network (ANN) is one of the most widely used techniques in classification data mining. Although ANNs can achieve very high classification accuracies, their explanation capability is very limited. Therefore one of the main challenges in using ANNs in data mining applications is to extract explicit knowledge from them. Based on this motivation, a novel approach is proposed in this paper for generating classification rules from feed forward type ANNs. Although there are several approaches in the literature for classification rule extraction from ANNs, the present approach is fundamentally different from them. In the previous studies, ANN training and rule extraction is generally performed independently in a sequential (hierarchical) manner. However, in the present study, training and rule extraction phases are integrated within a multiple objective evaluation framework for generating accurate classification rules directly. The proposed approach makes use of differential evolution algorithm for training and touring ant colony optimization algorithm for rule extracting. The proposed algorithm is named as DIFACONN-miner. Experimental study on the benchmark data sets and comparisons with some other classical and state-of-the art rule extraction algorithms has shown that the proposed approach has a big potential to discover more accurate and concise classification rules. (c) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.