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UN: Over 700 Civilians Killed In Afghanistan So Far In 2018

Afghan volunteers carry an injured man on a stretcher to a hospital following a bomb blast in Jalalabad on March 19.

The United Nations says more than 700 civilians were killed in the first three months of 2018 in Afghanistan.

In its quarterly report issued on April 12, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said 763 civilians were killed and 1,495 others injured between January 1 and March 31, a similar figure to the same period in 2017.

UNAMA said it was concerned by a 6 percent increase in civilian casualties caused by antigovernment groups.

It said pro-government forces, including Afghan security forces, government-sponsored militias, and international troops, reduced civilian casualties by 13 percent compared to the previous year, killing and injuring 407 civilians.

"Afghan civilians continue to suffer, caught in the conflict, in ways that are preventable; this must stop now," said Ingrid Hayden, the UN secretary-general's deputy special representative for Afghanistan.

For the whole of 2017, the UN said 3,438 civilians were killed and 7,015 others injured. It was the fourth year in a row with more than 10,000 civilian casualties.

The UN figures are considered a conservative estimate because they need at least three independent sources to officially register a case.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa