UNITED NATIONS, July 31: The use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by insurgents in Afghanistan has raised the number of Afghan civilians killed or injured in the first half of 2013 as it went up by 23 per cent compared to the same period last year, a UN report said on Wednesday.

The six-month report on the protection of civilians, produced by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama) documented 1,319 civilian deaths and 2,533 injuries – a total of 3,852 civilian casualties – in the first half of 2013.

The increase reverses the decline recorded in 2012, and marks a return to the high numbers of civilian deaths and injuries documented in 2011.

“The increase in the indiscriminate use of IEDs and the deliberate targeting of civilians by anti-government elements is particularly alarming and must stop,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of Unama, Ján Kubiš added.

The second biggest cause of civilian deaths and injuries were “ground engagements” between Afghan security forces and anti-government elements, which Unama said posed an increasing threat to Afghan children, women and men.—Masood Haider

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