Afghan Opium Output at Record High

Afghan Opium Output at Record High
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A farmer collects resin from poppies in a field in Nangahar Province east of Kabul in Afghanistan on April 24, 2007.

The opium poppy has a planting cycle of six to seven months. The distinctive bright-colored flowers appear after three months, and the petals fall away to expose the round seedpod.

The opaque, milky sap inside the pod—opium in its natural form—is extracted by slitting the pod and collecting the resin in plastic.

Some 2.9 million of Afghanistan's 25 million people are involved in opium poppy cultivation, according to the UNODC report. Afghanistan is set to produce 8,000 tons of opium this year, compared to 6,724 tons in 2006.

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—Photograph by Rahmat Gul/AP
 
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