Afghan farmers harvest raw opium at a poppy field in Zhari district of southern Kandahar province, Afghanistan. A recent uptick in violence across the south will worsen once the poppy crop is harvested in coming weeks and the extremists deploy gunmen to protect their vast smuggling empire, officials, analysts and diplomats are predicting.
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.
Iranian police on Wednesday stand in front of a cloud of smoke during an incineration ceremony of about 100 tons of illicit drugs, an annual ritual in Tehran aimed at preventing drug trafficking and drug use. The drugs, mainly opium and morphine, were set ablaze in front of police and judiciary officials as well as a number of foreign dignitaries and UN officials
Afghan farmers collect raw opium as they work in a poppy field in Khogyani district of Jalalabad, east of Kabul in Afghanistan. Opium poppy cultivation has been increasing for a third year in a row and is heading for a record high, the UN said in a report. Poppy cultivation is also increasing in areas of the southern Taliban heartland, the report showed, especially in regions where thousands of US-led coalition troops have been withdrawn or are in the process of departing. The report indicates that whatever international efforts have been made to wean local farmers off the crop have failed.