Workers deliver saffron flowers to a farmer in the Ghoriyan district of Herat. Saffron cultivation requires a great deal of land and intensive labour, but the world’s most expensive spice could be an economic lifeline for Afghanistan. In Herat, about 6,000 people – 4,000 of them women – are employed in saffron farming on 800 acres of land.
An Afghan labourer poses at an aluminium workshop in Herat. About 100 people work in the Herat aluminium factory, which produces 70-100 tons of aluminium each month, mostly for domestic use
An Afghan worker prepares candies at a factory in Herat, Afghanistan on Wednesday. The nation’s economy has improved significantly since 2002 due to billions of dollars in international aid and investments.
Girls wave flags at a campaign rally for Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah, in Herat. The flags read “number 1” , Abdullah’s number on ballot papers. Eight candidates are campaigning for the country’s third presidential election, to be held on April 5.
Voters queue to receive their polling cards, for the upcoming presidential election in Afghanistan, at a registration centre in Herat on Monday. Presidential candidates held large outdoor rallies five days ahead of elections that have been shaken by Taliban attacks.
An Afghan child warms herself near a traditional sandali stove at her family’s home in Herat, Afghanistan, on Friday. As winter sets in across Central Asia, finding adequate food and shelter is a struggle for many Afghans.
Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images
An Afghan family walks during sunset in Herat on Tuesday. Over a third of Afghans are living in abject poverty, a UN report said.
Afghan women collecting saffron flowers from fields in the Gozara district of Herat. Saffron is prized for its colour, flavour and medicinal properties. It has been indicated as an alternative to opium, and the price and demand for it is increasing.
A health worker administers a polio vaccination to a child in Herat, Afghanistan, at the start of a three-day nationwide immunisation campaign against polio, supported by the country’s Ministry of Public Health
Afghan boys transport containers of water with a wheelbarrow on the outskirts of Herat, Afghanistan on Tuesday. The war-torn country still faces poverty, unemployment and lack of infrastructure despite western aid that has flooded Afghanistan in the 11 years since a US-led invasion toppled the Islamist Taliban regime.
A former Taliban fighter looks on during a ceremony after joining Afghan government forces in Herat on Wednesday. About 100,000 foreign combat troops, 68,000 of them from the US, are due to leave by the end of 2014, and NATO formally transferred responsibility for nationwide security to Afghan forces a week ago.
An Afghan boy searches for recyclable garbage at the city’s landfill in Herat, Afghanistan.
An Afghan girl stands in the doorway of her house in the old sector of Herat on Wednesday. Over a third of Afghans are living in abject poverty, as those in power are more concerned about addressing their vested interests rather than the basic needs of the population, a UN report said.
Afghan confectioners work at a traditional sweets factory in Herat. Some 9 million Afghans or 36 per cent of the population are living in “absolute poverty”, while another 37 per cent live barely above the poverty line, according to a UN report.