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Afghan civilian casualties hit new high: UN

The United Nations says civilian casualties in Afghanistan's conflict have hit a record high for the seventh year running. Children made up a large proportion of the dead and wounded.

The United Nations reported on Sunday that 11,002 civilians were killed or wounded in Afghanistan in 2015, a 4 percent rise in comparison with the year before.

It said that 3,545 of these were fatalities.

"The harm done to civilians is totally unacceptable," said Nicholas Haysom, the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

The annual report attributed the rise in casualties to a surge in fighting between Western-backed government forces and insurgent groups encouraged by the

withdrawal of most international troops

from the country.

Taliban Afghanistan

The Taliban are blamed for most civilian casualties

Taliban most dangerous

Insurgent groups such as

the Taliban

were blamed for 62 percent of the civilian deaths and injuries, with investigators accusing the rebels of operations that "deliberately or indiscriminately" put civilians at risk.

Children

and women were particularly hard hit. One in every four casualties was a child - a rise of 14 percent - and one in ten a woman - a 37 percent increase, according to the report.

The worst-affected regions were those in the north and south, where Afghan security forces are struggling to combat Taliban offensives in Kunduz and Helmand provinces in particular.

Karte Afghanistan Provinz Helmand Englisch

Helmand province has seen a resurgent rebellion

The United Nations has recorded nearly 59,000 civilian deaths and injuries in Afghanistan since 2009, when it began systematically documenting non-military casualties.

tj/rc (Reuters, dpa)

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