More than 2,100 civilians in Afghanistan were killed last year, a 40 percent rise from the previous year, as a result of US invasion for seventh year, spreading to new areas, World Bulletin reported on Tuesday, referring to the United Nations top aid official.
"According to U.N. figures, over 2,100 civilians were killed as a result of armed conflict in 2008, which represents an increase of about 40 percent from 2007," Holmes said in a speech, the text of which was issued to reporters in Geneva.
John Holmes, U.N. emergency relief coordinator, gave the toll to representatives of donor countries while launching a U.N. funding appeal of $604 million for Afghanistan for 2009.
He did not say whether the majority of civilian casualties were due to Taliban militants or U.S.-led air strikes in the country, where violence is at the highest levels since the 2001 occupetion of the U.S. troops.
The Taliban have regrouped and, despite the presence of nearly 70,000 international troops, in the last year increased both the scope and scale of their attacks against foreign and Afghan soldiers.
Air strikes which have killed hundreds of civilians have provoked anger among Afghans and resentment against the presence of foreign troops.
"The armed conflict is increasingly characterised by the use of suicide bombings, improvised explosive devices, kidnappings and air strikes, all of which tend to increase civilian casualties," said the U.N. funding appeal document.