Afghanistan: Retirees struggle as pensions go unpaid

Afghan retirees are facing severe economic hardships as pension payments remain unpaid for years. Zarghona, a 60-year-old former teacher and sole breadwinner for her family of 13, is among those affected.

“Despite dedicating 25 years of service to Herat schools and another 10 years in Badghis, I have not received my retirement pension for three years now,” Zarghona said. “With 13 family members, we are grappling with severe economic challenges.”

The pension system, overseen by Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada, has been inactive for over two years. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid assured that the payment plan would be implemented following the leader’s directives.

Rahman, another retiree, expressed frustration with the government’s budget constraints, contributing to the retirees’ plight. “The government claims there is no budget for pensions. We face numerous challenges; not only are we victims of earthquakes, but we also encounter various hardships, compounded by the lack of employment opportunities in Afghanistan,” Rahman said.

Sayeed Ahmad, also a retiree, lamented, “I once had a pension, but now it seems like we’ve been forgotten entirely.”

According to the Retirees Association, there are over 140,000 retirees in Afghanistan, including 10,000 women and 56,000 military retirees.