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Afghan Official Says 2 Million Afghans Unemployed

KABUL -- The Afghan government says that some 2 million workers in the country are unemployed.

The Labor and Social Affairs Ministry added that an estimated 30,000 foreigners are working in Afghanistan.

Deputy Labor and Social Affairs Minister Ghaws Bashiri told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that it is necessary to hire foreigners because Afghans "don't have high-level vocational skills and abilities."

Unemployment in Afghanistan is estimated at between 30-35 percent, down from 40 percent three years ago. Employment opportunities have been hurt by the harsh winter in the country, as construction work has slowed and agriculture -- which employs 80 percent of the country's workforce -- has been damaged.