KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, July 15 (UPI) -- Improvised explosive devices and suicide attacks caused nearly half of all civilian deaths and injuries in the first six months of 2011, Afghan officials said.
The use of IED's by militants in Afghanistan has caused a dramatic hike in "conflict-related civilian deaths" in the first half of the year, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in a report.
There has been a 15 percent increase in deaths and injuries so far this year, mostly because of "the use of landmine-like pressure plate improvised explosive devices by anti-government elements," UNAMA's "Mid-year Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict" said.
So far this year 444 people have been victims of IEDs, which UNAMA said is "the single largest killer of Afghan civilians in the first half of 2011." IEDs account for about 30 percent of all civilian deaths.
"Afghan children, women and men continue to be killed and injured at an alarming rate," said Staffan de Mistura, special representative for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
About 1,462 civilians were killed in the first six months of the year, with 80 percent coming at the hands of anti-government elements.
Other violence in Afghanistan shows no sign of lessening, CNN reported.
Officials in Khost province were investigating reports six civilians were killed in a NATO-led night raid Wednesday.
In Kandahar, six people were killed by a suicide attacker at a mosque where high-ranking officials had gathered to remember the brother of the murdered half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.