Death toll rising in Afghanistan

The number of Afghanis killed or injured since January has risen by 23 percent compared to the death toll last year, causing the United Nations to plea for increased civilian protection.

A total of 3,852 civilian casualties since January were reported in the mid-year report by the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. The death toll since 2012 has increased by 14 percent; a 28 percent increase has been seen in injuries.

"The violent impact of the conflict on Afghan civilians marked by the return of rising civilian casualties in 2013 demands even greater commitment and further efforts by parties to the conflict to protect civilians who are increasingly being killed and injured in the crossfire," Secretary-General's Special Representative and Head of UNAMA Jan Kubis said.

Authorities are concerned for women and children as well, as deaths and injuries to women and children have increased by 38 percent.

"The growing loss of life and injuries to Afghan women and children in 2013 is particularly disturbing," UNAMA's Director of Human Rights Georgette Gagnon said. "Deaths and injuries to women and children increased by 38 per cent in the first half of 2013 reflecting a grim reality of the conflict today in Afghanistan."

Representatives from the UNAMA are urging non-government parties to initiate better methods for protecting civilians during the conflict and to eliminate orders to kill civilians, religious personnel, government workers and judicial personnel.

"UNAMA urges all parties to the conflict to exercise constant care to protect civilians from the dangers of military operations and to take all feasible measures to avoid and minimize incidental loss of civilian life and injury," Gagnon said.