The United Nations says more Afghan civilians were killed by government and NATO-led troops than by the Taliban and other insurgent groups in the first half of 2019.
The U.N.'s mission in Afghanistan released a report Monday that showed a combined 717 civilians were killed by government and international forces -- an increase of 31% from the same period in 2018 -- compared to 531 killed by the Taliban and other hardline Islamist groups. Most of the deaths occurred during Afghan and NATO air and ground attacks against insurgents.
The report said a total of 2,446 Afghan civilians were injured at that hands of pro-government and insurgent troops.
"Parties to the conflict may give differing explanations for recent trends, each designed to justify their own military tactics,'' said Richard Bennett, the human rights chief of the U.N.'s Afghanistan Mission. He said both sides could improve the situation "not just by abiding by international humanitarian law but also by reducing the intensity of the fighting."
The United States is negotiating with Taliban on a peace deal to end the 18-year-long war, launched by the U.S. against Afghanistan's then-ruling Taliban in response to the September 11, 2001, al-Qaida terror attacks on Washington and New York. The Taliban wants the full withdrawal of all U.S. and foreign forces from Afghanistan, while the U.S. is seeking a number of security guarantees from hardline group, including a pledge that Afghanistan will never again be used as a base to launch terror attacks against the U.S.