Injured persons lay on the ground after a bomb exploded during a demonstration in Kabul, Afghanistan, 23 July 2016.
Photograph: EPA/STRINGER

A quarter of civilian deaths in Afghanistan in the first half of 2016 were children, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said on Monday.

From January to June this year, 388 children were killed and 1,121 were wounded, the group said in a report.

The number of child casualties in Afghanistan in the first half of 2016 was the highest half-year total since 2009, the report said, calling the development "alarming and shameful."

Afghanistan had 5,166 total civilian casualties in the first half of 2016, including 1,601 deaths and 3,565 injuries, the report said.

Female casualties stood at 507, including 130 killed and 377 injured.

“Every single casualty documented in this report were people killed while praying, working, studying, fetching water, recovering in hospitals," said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s special representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA.

Yamamoto called on all parties to "take meaningful, concrete steps to reduce civilians’ suffering and increase protection.”

Sixty per cent of the total casualties were caused by the opposition of the Afghan government, while government forces inflicted 23 per cent of civilian casualties.

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