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More children dying in Afghan violence, says UN report

The number of children killed and wounded in Afghanistan’s war jumped by 34 per cent last year as the Taliban stepped up attacks across the country and continued to lay thousands of roadside bombs, the United Nations said Saturday.

Overall civilian casualties were up by 14 per cent, reversing 2012’s downward trend and making 2013 one of the deadliest years of the 12-year war for civilians, the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan said in a report.

The rising civilian toll underscores mounting levels of violence in Afghanistan.

Taliban insurgents have ramped up attacks to try to gain ground and shake the Afghan government’s confidence as international combat troops prepare to complete their withdrawal at the end of the year.

The UN report also noted an ”alarming” new trend for 2013, the increasing numbers of civilians being harmed in fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security forces.

It recorded a total of 962 battles in which civilians were harmed last year, an average rate of nearly 20 such battles every week, and said civilian casualties caused by such fighting rose by 43 per cent over the previous year.

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