Retirees share struggles amid unpaid pensions

Retirees expressed their profound frustration, citing severe economic hardships as their pensions have remained unpaid for nearly three years since the Taliban’s takeover.

They highlighted the increased struggles during Ramadan, unable to support their families. Tens of thousands of retirees, including women, have been deprived of their pensions for the past two years. The retirees have called on the Taliban’s relevant institutions to take their plight seriously.

“Last night at Sahri, I had just tea. For Iftar, I only had boiled potatoes while some of the children received their meals and some others didn’t,” said Abdul Wasi, a retiree. “My children argued with me about why I cannot provide them with food.” Some retirees argue that despite years of service, the Taliban refuse to pay them their dues.

“They said they would pay our pensions, but it is not yet clear when. Our children are upset and ask me, ‘Why did you bring us to this country where we cannot be fed?'” said Mirwais, another retiree.

Despite approaching the General Directorate of Pensions—now under Taliban control—their appeals have been ignored. For many, the pension is their sole source of income. “I have served for around 38 years. The current regime doesn’t give us our pensions. I have knocked on every door. Among the retirees are widows and orphans who pin their hopes on these pensions. What can they eat?” said Kubra, a retired woman. “No one hears us. The pension is our right, not someone else’s. This money is stored in the bank for us. We are not taking anyone else’s right.”

The Taliban previously stated that the plan for retirees’ pensions had been finalized but would only be issued after approval by Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada.

According to the union of retirees, at least 130,000 men and 10,000 women are eligible for pensions, yet the Taliban has not made these payments for nearly three years.