Kabul (Web Desk): At least 3,812 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in the first half of 2019 in the war against militant groups, the United Nations said on Tuesday.
The latest casualty figures were released as talks between the Taliban and US officials to end the 18-year Afghan war entered an important stage, with US negotiators aiming to reach a peace deal before September 1.
However, the war has raged on despite the diplomatic efforts, forcing civilians to live under the constant threat of being targeted by militants or being caught up in ground fighting, or becoming inadvertent victims of airstrikes by Afghan government and NATO-led forces.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in its latest report ground raids and clashes caused the most civilian casualties, followed by bomb attacks and airstrikes.
Taliban and Daesh fighters killed 531 Afghans and wounded 1,437 between January 1 and June 30. The hardline groups deliberately targeted 985 civilians, including government officials, tribal elders, aid workers, and religious scholars, UNAMA said in its report.
It said pro-government forces killed 717 Afghans and wounded 680 in the six months to June 30, a 31 per cent increase from the corresponding period in 2018.
At least 144 women and 327 children were killed and more than 1,000 wounded across the country.
Airstrikes caused 519 civilian casualties, 150 of whom were children.