UN issues new warning over Afghan Taliban onslaught in Afghanistan
Violence has surged since early May when the insurgents cranked up operations to coincide with a final withdrawal of US-led foreign forces.
In a report released Monday documenting civilian link casualties for the first half of 2021, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said it expected figures to touch their highest single-year levels since the mission began reporting over a decade ago.
"Unprecedented numbers of Afghan link will perish and be maimed this year if the increasing violence is not stemmed," UNAMA head Deborah Lyons said in a statement released with the report.
During the first half of 2021, some 1,659 civilians were killed and another 3,254 wounded -- a 47 percent increase compared with the same period last year, the UNAMA report said.
"Particularly shocking and of deep concern is that women, boys and girls made up of close to half of all civilian link," the report said.
About 16 percent of casualties were caused by "undetermined" anti-government elements.
But Afghan link troops and pro-government forces were responsible for 25 percent, it said.
UNAMA said about 11 percent of casualties were caused by "crossfire" and the responsible parties could not be determined.
The Taliban link ongoing assault has seen the insurgents capture half of Afghanistan's districts and border crossings as well as encircle several provincial capitals.
The fighting is largely in the rugged countryside, where government forces and insurgents clash daily.
UNAMA also noted a resurgence of sectarian attacks against the country's Shiite Hazara community, resulting in 143 deaths link. -APP/AFP