The Tanoli are a prominent Sarbanri Pashtun tribe residing in the Hazara region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The word Tanawal is derived from Taniwal or the Tanal pass in Central Asia. Although not usually acknowledged as Pashtuns, the Tanoli have assimilated many Pastun cultural features. Tribally allied with the Pathans, The Tanoli participated in the frontier wars with the British and in Charles Allen's analysis of those wars were described as "extremely hostile" and "brave and hardy and accounted for the best swordsmen in Hazara."
They have ruled the state of Amb of Hazara whitch started from the beginning of 18th century.During the the late 17th century,Turks were overthrown by swatis in areas of upper Hazara. Tanolis, however, remained loyal to Turks till end of latters rule in Hazara. Tanolis later on put up the vigorous rebellions against the Sikhs in the 19th century. They also allied with Ahmed Shah Abdali in his conquest of India. Many Khans and princes of their dynasty have gained mass popularity as heroes. The origin of the term Tanoli is due to later corruption of the name Tanawali o Taniwal.It is a Hazara custom to change names etc. from the original. For example in Tanawal the name Gohar Aman is usually pronounced as Gohriamaan, Hussain khan to Sain khan, Ahmed khan to madd khan and Mubarak Shah to Marak Shah - there are countless examples of this in different parts of Hazara - this is the most plausible explanation for the term as the oral and written history of Tanawal is fiercely holding on to their age-long belief that they originate fromAfghanistan from a pass known Tanaubal or Tanawal . Therefore, to assign any other origin of the name Tanoli is not only against the cultural norms and tribal history of the area but also a distortion of History.
Most members of the Tanoli tribe reside in the former princely state of Amb in the Hazara Divisionof Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, in the cities of Abbottabad, Khalabat Township,Haripur and its district, Mansehra, Battagram and Kohistan districts. A branch of the Tanoli tribe also resides in Kashmir, mainly in Muzaffarabad and Srinagar. Tanolis also inhabit the cities of Quetta and Karachi. They dominate the Tanawal-Sherwan belt.
In Afghanistan, the Tanoli primarily live in the eastern provinces of Paktia, Gardez, and Ghazni.