Over 3400 civilians killed in 2017 in Afghanistan

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Despite the general decline in the number of civilian casualties, the United Nations expressed deep concern over the 17 per cent rise in victims of suicide and similar attacks with 2,295 victims as against 1,963 registered in 2016.

Indiscriminate assaults by Taliban and the Islamic State group in populated areas caused "the higest levels of civilian casualties", the study added, with a total of 1,831 people killed and wounded in Kabul in 2017 alone.

A total of 4,403 women and children were either killed or wounded during the year in what Tadamichi Tamamoto, the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, called "appalling human suffering".

The number of civilian casualties in the war in Afghanistan declined previous year but the number of deaths from air strikes was on the rise, the United Nations says.

Meanwhile, spokesman for Afghan Defense Ministry, Dawlat Waziri, said that the security forces would do their best to protect civilians during military operations against militants in Afghanistan.

"Afghan civilians have been killed going about their daily lives - traveling on a bus, praying in a mosque, simply walking past a building that was targeted".

In their statement, the Taliban did not mention a January 27 raid on a top Kabul hotel, in which more than 30 people were killed, nor a bomb attack on a crowded street a week later that killed more than 100.

This year, a wave of attacks by armed groups have killed almost 150 people in recent weeks.

Despite the decline in overall figures, Danielle Bell, UNAMA's human right director, said, "Much more needs to be done".

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Overall, more than 10,000 civilian casualties - 3,438 people killed and 7,015 injured - were documented in 2017, one of the deadliest years in the recent history of the country, reeling from the insurgency now entering its 17th year.

"It has indeed been a hard year".

A more aggressive US strategy in Afghanistan including a surge in air strikes introduced by President Donald Trump in August has pushed the Taliban back from several district centers and two provincial capitals.

Women and children remained heavily affected by conflict-related violence.

UNAMA reported a five percent rise in female deaths at 359, with 865 injured.

The number of child casualties - 861 killed and 2,318 wounded - was 10 percent lower than 2016.

"We can not sleep day and night due to the frightening sounds of firing", an 11-year-old girl injured by a bullet during a ground engagement in Arghandab district, Zabul province in September, told UNAMA.

The casualties by pro-government forces were mainly caused by an increase in aerial bombings by Afghan and foreign forces, the UNAMA said.

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