ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN —
Hostilities in Afghanistan have left around 30,000 people dead and as many wounded, mostly insurgents, according to the latest official estimates.
As of Sunday, counter-insurgency operations conducted by Afghan police and military forces around the country had left more than 18,500 "enemy" fighters dead and wounded 12,000 more, according to defense and interior ministry officials.
Mohammad Radmanesh, the deputy defense ministry spokesman, told VOA that authorities have also captured hundreds of insurgents.
He declined to discuss casualties among the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces, or ANDSF, but admitted they "increased by more than 10 percent compared to the previous year."
ANDSF suffered around 20,000 casualties, including 5,000 deaths in 2015, according to the United States military.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a U.S. government watchdog, reported in October that more than 5,500 Afghan forces were killed in the first eight months of 2016 while around 10,000 were wounded.
The totals for the full year are likely to be much higher because the war has intensified since August.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, or UNAMA, told the Security Council in New York last week that conflict-related incidents have killed more than 3,000 civilians this year.
In addition, an unprecedented 551,000 people have fled their homes because of the intensified and expanded war.
Afghan and U.N. officials say more than 1 million Afghan refugees, including undocumented families in neighboring Pakistan and Iran have returned home in 2016, setting a record. When internally displaced people are counted in, more than 1.5 million Afghans have been on the move since January, according to UNAMA officials.
Analysts hold out little hope that 2017 will be much better without a peace and reconciliation process between the Afghan government and the Taliban.