KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Improvised explosive devices were the major cause of a 14 percent increase in Afghan civilian casualties in 2013, the United Nations said Saturday.
The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan found fighting between Afghan troops and militants in which civilians were caught in the crossfire was the number two reason for civilian casualties, Khaama Press reported.
In its annual report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, UNAMA said nearly 3,000 civilians were killed and more than 5,600 were injured in 2013 -- a 7 percent increase in civilian deaths from 2012 and a 17 percent increase in injuries.
Seventy-four percent of the casualties were attributed to "anti-government elements." Another 11 percent were said caused by pro-government forces and 8 percent to Afghan national security forces. Only 3 percent were attributed to international coalition forces.
The report said 34 percent of civilian deaths were caused by improvised explosive devices deployed by militant groups. UNAMA said 956 civilian casualties were attributed to pro-government forces, an increase of 59 percent from the previous year.
Alluding to the withdrawal of many coalition troops in 2013, UNAMA head Jan Kubisi said: "Afghan security forces' lead responsibility for security brings with it increased responsibility for civilian protection. It is critically important for Afghan forces to take all possible measures to protect civilians from the harms of conflict."
He called on militant groups to cooperate to "halt the worsening impact of the conflict on Afghan civilians."
The number of civilian casualties dropped in 2012 from a record 3,133 civilians deaths in 2011, the BBC reported.