A UN report documented 4,921 civilian casualties – 1,592 deaths and 3,329 injured – during the first six months of the year, an increase of 1 per cent compared to the first half of 2014, it said.
Conflict-related violence took a particularly heavy toll on women and children, according to Danielle Bell, human rights director of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
“Women civilian casualties increased by 23 per cent (164 deaths and 395 injured), while child casualties increased by 13 per cent (153 deaths and 302 injured),” she said.
“The thousands of civilians killed and injured demonstrate the continued failure of parties to the conflict to protect civilians from harm.”
Taliban and other anti-government forces were responsible for 70 per cent of the civilian casualties, the report said, accounting for 1,213 deaths and 2,223 injured.
The Taliban accepted responsibility for only one-third of those casualty figures, the UN said.
Pro-government forces, including the military and local militias, were responsible for 15 per cent of the civilian casualties, while one per cent was attributed to international military forces.
International forces have not been actively engaged in combat since the end of last year except for airstrikes and Special Forces operations.
Civilian casualties due to aerial operations by both international military and Afghan forces increased by 88 per cent, the UN said.
The northern province of Kunduz was the most dangerous province for civilians, with 52 deaths and 162 injured reported from ground engagements.
This spring the Taliban made large gains during their offensive, advancing towards the capital Kunduz city.
Targeted killings of civilians caused more deaths than any other tactic, increasing by 57 per cent, including religious leaders, judges and teachers, the report said.