The United Nations says more than 11,000 civilians were killed or wounded in violence in Afghanistan in 2015, making it the worst year for civilian casualties since the organization began compiling the statistics in 2009.
"In 2015, UNAMA documented 3,545 civilian deaths and 7,457 injured, a 4-per-cent increase from 2014," a new report from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan released on Sunday in Kabul said.
The report said that fighting and terrorist attacks in urban areas were the main causes of the increased civilian casualties.
It particularly highlighted human rights and protection issues concerning women and children, saying that of the combined 11,002 casualties "one in 10 was a woman and one in four was a child."
Taliban fighters were responsible for the bulk of the civilian casualties, it said.
"Anti-Government Elements continued to cause the majority of harm to civilians, causing 6,858 deaths and injuries - 62 per cent of civilian casualties - a 10-per-cent decrease from last year," said Nicholas Haysom, the UN's special representative on Afghanistan.
"Pro-Government Forces caused 1,854 civilian casualties – 17 per cent of the total. Of the 17 per cent, Afghan security forces caused 14 per cent, international military forces caused 2 per cent, and pro-Government armed groups caused 1 per cent," Haysom said.
Danielle Bell, UNAMA human rights director, said that despite commitments by all parties to protect civilians, the 2015 figures "reflect a disconnect between commitments made and the harsh reality on the ground."