A new United Nations report says insurgent and terrorist violence in Afghanistan sharply increased last year, with more than 8,000 conflict-related deaths.

In his report issued Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is concerned that a fifth of those killed were civilians.  He also cited increased attacks on humanitarian workers and aid convoys.

Mr. Ban said Taliban insurgents, related armed groups and drug trafficking all represent serious threats to Afghanistan's stability, with violence spreading to the previously calm northwest.

His report also highlights the way the conflict has changed from a conventional war between western forces and the Taliban to an insurgency using suicide attacks, assassinations, abductions and roadside bombings.

As expected, Mr. Ban recommended that the mandate for the U.N. mission in Afghanistan - which expires later this month - be extended for another year.