The deadly blooms of Helmand

Ghulam Hassan is in the mood to celebrate Eid, the biggest religious festival of the Afghan year, three months early. His one-and-a-half-acre farm in a small village in Helmand province has been blooming with white and crimson flowers. Now the petals are just beginning to drop, giving way to round, sticky, pungent green pods. In a few more days the pods will swell to the size of a bulb.

This is when Mr Hassan’s family of 14 will move in. They will carefully slice open the bulbs and collect the oozing white latex or resin – the main ingredient in heroin.

  • Drunk_by_Noon

    Helmand is despised by most Afghans as the part of Afghanistan that makes the rest of the country look bad.

  • tom_billesley

    1. Drones
    2. Fungal blight

    • Raymond Hietapakka

      3. Monsanto RoundUp

  • FactsWillOut

    If we just legalized opium poppies in the west, that would dry up their funding.
    They are very easy to grow.

  • mauser 98

    Drug War? American Troops Are Protecting Afghan Opium