Shayakhmetov was born in the village of Kaganovich in Zhambyl District, Almaty Province. He graduated from the Kazakh Polytechnic Institute named for V. I. Lenin (now Kazakh National Technical University) in 1978. He is married, and has a son and two daughters.
Shayakhmetov began his intelligence career in the KGB's Jezkazgan branch in 1982. He was promoted from NSC deputy chairman to full chairman in December 2009 as a replacement for Amangeldy Shabdarbayev, who was removed from his post for unclear reasons. Shayakhmetov himself was removed from his post in August 2010 in the aftermath of the arrest of Prosecutor-General's Office official Murat Musabekov, who was fingered as allegedly plotting a coup in an anonymous letter allegedly circulated by NSC officers. He was replaced by Nursultan Nazarbaev loyalist and political heavyweight Nurtai Abykayev.
- Басшылық, Kazakhstan: National Security Committee, retrieved 2010-02-22
- "Адиль Шаяхметов утвержден на должность главы КНБ", Gazeta.kz, 2009-12-09, retrieved 2010-02-22
- Lillis, Joanna (2010-10-07), "Kazakhstan: Coup Rumor a Sign of Factional Infighting in Astana", Eurasianet, retrieved 2010-12-13
- "Kazakhstan Approves New National Security Committee Chief", Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 2009-12-09, retrieved 2010-01-27
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