He graduated from the Military academy.
Abu Taleb participated in five wars from the 1948 Palestine war until the gulf war. He also served in Egypt's wars with Israel, and commanded the Third Army's artillery at Suez in the 1973 war, when Israeli forces encircled the city. And, like his predecessor, he graduated from Cairo's military academy, then trained in the United States and the Soviet Union before President Sadat broke with Moscow in the early 1970s.
He served briefly as Assistant Defense Minister in 1979. Abu Taleb became governor of Cairo in 1983. He was also the Governor of North Sinai where he contributed to the rebuilding of the governorate after the war.
In 1989, then president Hosni Mubarak appointed Abu Taleb to the influential post of minister of defense, replacing Field Marshal Abd al-Halim Abu Ghazala.