KABUL, Afghanistan -- Civilian deaths in the conflict in Afghanistan rose sharply last year, nearing the record levels of bloodletting reached in 2011, according to U.N. statistics released Saturday.
The annual report showed that more women and children died in conflict-related violence than in any year since 2009 as more ground combat occurred in populated areas and insurgents increased their use of improvised bombs in public places.
The statistics were a grim reversal from 2012, which saw civilian deaths decline for the first time in six years. The total of 2,959 deaths recorded by the U.N. in 2013 was a 7 percent rise from 2012 and brought the number of civilians killed since 2009 to more than 14,000. An additional 5,656 Afghan civilians were injured in 2013, a 17 percent increase from 2012.