According to a UN report, a record number of civilians were killed in Afghanistan last year.  The report blames an increase in suicide bombings by Islamic State and airstrikes by US-led coalition forces.

In its annual report released on February 24, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said 3,804 civilians were killed in 2018, the highest toll since it began compiling figures in 2009.  Another 7,189 were wounded.

The UN envoy, Tadamichi Yamamoto, called the increase in civilian casualties “deeply disturbing and wholly unacceptable.”  Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have also been displaced by the conflict, both within and beyond the country’s borders.

The report blames insurgents for 63% of civilian deaths and injuries in 2018.  It says the Taliban were responsible for 37%, ISISI 20%, and other armed groups 6%.

The government and its US and NATO allies were blamed for 24%, a significant increase on 2017, with many the result of increased airstrikes.

The US military says it carried out 6,823 airstrikes in 2018, the highest figure in six years, according to the report.

The report says More than 32,000 civilians have been killed and 60,000 wounded since the UN began compiling figures 10 years ago.

“It is time to put an end to this human misery and tragedy,” said Yamamoto.  “The best way to halt the killing and maiming of civilians is to stop the fighting. That is why there is all the more need now to use all our efforts to bring about peace.”