The 23-year-old does not feature on the player list for the tournament, which runs from Jan. 19 to Feb. 10, published on the Royal Moroccan Football Federation website (www.frmf.ma).
However, Dutch-born striker Mounir El Hamdaoui has returned to the squad for the first time since September after reviving his career on loan at Fiorentina from Ajax Amsterdam.
Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh has also been omitted from the list which includes Aston Villa midfielder Karim El Ahmadi and Liverpool forward Oussama Assaidi from the Premier League.
Morocco will play on the opening night against Angola in Johannesburg and also face Angola and Cape Verde in Group A.
The mercurial Taarabt has been out of favour with the national team but hoped to have done enough to impress Morocco coach Rachid Taoussi, who took charge in the summer.
"I hope to be at the African Nations Cup but even if I'm not there, and that would be painful, I'll be the biggest Morocco supporter," he said on the lequipe.fr African soccer blog.
Taarabt's exclusion will boost QPR in their battle to avoid relegation under new manager Harry Redknapp. They are second-bottom of the Premier League, five points from the safety zone.