The number of Afghan civilian deaths has jumped by nearly a quarter in the first six months of 2013, according to a new UN report.
A total of 1,300 people have lost their lives in the 12-year-old conflict since the beginning of the year.
The number of children killed has risen 30 percent compared with last year, as insurgents step up their attacks with home-made devices.
“The main factors driving the increase in civilian casualties were the following: the increased use of improvised explosive devises or IEDs by anti-government elements particularly in areas frequented by civilians such as bazaars, markets, busy roads and other places,” explained UNAMA Human Rights Director, Georgette Gagnon.
The news has sparked fears over the Afghan forces’ ability to cope with the withdrawal deadline for international troops approaching in 2014.
A Nato investigation concluded their forces were not responsible for the deaths, though their accelerated departure appears to coincide with the increase.