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Iran Press TV

Civilian casualties on rise in Afghanistan: UN

Iran Press TV

Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:32PM

Fierce clashes between Afghan government forces and Taliban militants have taken a heavy toll on civilians in the war-torn country, the UN says.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said on Sunday that the growing number of civilian casualties stemmed from intensified ground engagement between Afghan forces and anti-government elements.

The report documented over 136 civilian deaths and more than 521 injuries in the first quarter of the year. The fatalities are eight percent higher year-on-year.

The UN and senior Afghan officials have expressed concerns over deteriorating security conditions as the so-called fighting season with Taliban militants looms.

UN Special Representative Nicholas Haysom has said the civilian death toll is likely to rise further in the summer.

'With the seasonal resumption of higher levels of conflict-related violence ... parties in particular should refrain from using mortars and rockets in any areas populated by civilians,' Haysom said on Sunday.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has predicted a difficult spring for the country's security.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington's so-called war on terror. The offensive removed Taliban from power, but insecurity still remains in some provinces.

The US-led combat mission in Afghanistan ended on December 31, 2014. However, at least 13,500 foreign forces, mainly from the United States, have remained in the country in what Washington calls a support mission.

JR/KA/SS



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