Afzal Tahir

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Muhammad Afzal Tahir
Born (1949-01-04) January 4, 1949 (age 66)
Allegiance  Pakistan
Service/branch Naval Jack of Pakistan.svg Pakistan Navy
Years of service 1970 – 2008
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg Admiral
Service number PN No. 1239[1]
Unit Naval Air Army
Commands held Commander Naval Aviation
DCNS Special Projects
DCNS Naval Operations
Commander Pakistan Fleet (COMPAK)
DCNS (Training and Personnel)
Chief of Naval Staff
Commandant Special Service Group Navy
Battles/wars 1971 Indo-Pakistani War
1999 Indo-Pakistani War
2001 Indo-Pakistan standoff
War in North-West Pakistan
Awards Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Military)
Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military)
Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military)
Legion of Merit

Admiral Muhammad Afzal Tahir, (Urdu:محمد افظل طاهر; born 4 January 1949; NI(M)) is a retired four-star rank admiral and the former Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) of Pakistan Navy from October 2005 till October 2008.His four=star appointment came in effect after the retirement of Admiral Shahid Karimullah in 2005 and was succeeded by newly appointment Admiral Noman Bashir on October 2008.[2] Tahir took over the command of Pakistan Navy from Admiral Shahid Karimullah on 7 October 2005, after Karimullah ended his three-year Naval chief tenure. On promotion, Admiral Tahir superseded at least one senior officer, Vice Admiral Mohammad Haroon the then Chief of Staff (COS), but he continued to serve and was later made Vice Chief of Naval Staff (VCNS) on 7 November 2005.[3][4]

Naval career[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

Admiral Afzal Tahir was born in Faisalabad, Punjab. He belongs to the Arain clan, his parents migrated from Kapurthala, Indian Punjab during Partition. His father worked as an administrative officer in the Kapurthala Princely State, and later as a Central Superior Services officer in the Federal Government of Pakistan. He joined the Pakistan Navy on 11 May 1967 and attended the Pakistan Military Academy (with 40th PMA Long Course) and the Naval Academy at Abbottabad and Karachi respectively prior to commissioning in December 1970 in the special operations branch. He was among one of the few naval officers who were selected for the training with Army's Special Service Group, and his naval unit was sent to United States to conduct its exercise and training with U.S. Navy SEALs in 1969.

1971 war experience[edit]

After his training, he was transferred to the Special Service Group Navy, a Navy's special operations unit, as an elite commanding officer. He saw action in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 where he actively participated in the conflict. Previously had studied special war courses in Pakistan Military Academy, Lieutenant Commander Tahir was a platoon commander of the Special Service Group Navy (SSGN) where he commanded a small team of Navy commandos in East Pakistan against the Indian Army. Lt. Crdr. Tahir led 3 successful ground based naval operations along with the Army and gained a respective reputation in Special Service Group Navy. After the conflict, Lt.Cdr. Tahir left the naval special forces and served on surface ships and minesweepers before opting to join Naval Aviation in March 1974. His tours of duty in Aviation Service took him twice to the United Kingdom for Basic Observer and Helicopter Warfare Instructor (HWI) courses.

In July 1985 he was promoted to the rank of Commander, to Captain in July 1992 and to Commodore in 1998. In 1999, he again saw action in Indo-Pakistani War of 1999. In 2000, he was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral, to that of Vice Admiral on 1 September 2004 when he was serving as the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (training and personnel) and to that of Admiral on 7 October 2005 and appointed as Chief of Naval Staff of the Pakistan Navy.[5] He is a graduate of Joint Services Staff College, Chaklala and National Defence College, Islamabad.

Appointments and honors[edit]

His staff appointments include deputy chief of naval staff (operations), deputy chief of naval staff (projects), chief staff officer to the Pakistan fleet commander and instructor at the Joint Services Staff College. His command assignments include the command of a guided missile destroyer and command of naval aviation. His last command appointment was as the commander of the Pakistan fleet (COMPAK). He is a recipient of the Sitara-i-Imtiaz and Hilal-i-Imtiaz.

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Mullen presents Pakistan Navy Chief of Naval Staff Adm. Afzal Tahir with the Legion of Merit

Personal life[edit]

Tahir is a keen sportsman and single-handicap golfer. He belongs to an Arain agriculturalist family of Punjab. He is married and has three daughters and two sons.[6]


  1. ^ Ikramul Haq. "President confers military and civil awards" Business Recorder, 24 March 2003
  2. ^ "President Zardari appoints Noman Bashir new navy chief" Associated Press of Pakistan, 5 October 2008
  3. ^ "Admiral Tahir assumes command of Pakistan Navy" Dawn Newspaper, October 8, 2005
  4. ^ "Admiral Haroon appointed Vice Chief of Naval Staff" Dawn, 8 November 2005
  5. ^ "Pakistani Navy Chief Visits Culdrose" Royal Navy: RNAS Culdrose, 4 June 2008
  6. ^ "Afzal Tahir promoted to vice admiral" Daily Times, September 2, 2004

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Shahid Karimullah
Chief of Naval Staff
2005 – 2008
Succeeded by
Noman Bashir