Over 3400 civilians killed in 2017 in Afghanistan

Taliban asks US to engage in peace talks

Almost 2,300 civilians were killed or wounded in suicide bombings and attacks in Afghanistan in 2017 - more than any previous year of the conflict, according to a United Nations report.

"Each of these figures represents a hope crushed for a better future", lamented UNAMA chief Tadamichi Yamamoto while addressing a news conference in Kabul.

Things have not improved so far in 2018, and he warned the United Nations is concerned it will see "greater harm this year".

The air campaign by worldwide and government forces accounted for 6 percent of civilian casualties in 2017, with 295 people killed and 336 wounded, a 7 percent increase over the previous year. "The Taliban's recent horrific terror attacks in Kabul speak louder than these words", declared the spokesperson, according to the Guardian.

The report noted that suicide attacks together with improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, caused 40 percent of the civilian casualties.

"The success of the Afghan operations around the country, supported by Resolute Support and United States forces, have caused the enemy high casualties everywhere", he said.

FILE - Men mourn over relatives' bodies in a hospital near the site of an explosion in Herat, Afghanistan, June 6, 2017.

The attacks have toughened both the US and Afghan governments' stand against initiating talks with the Taliban, although neither side seems capable of winning the conflict.

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Aerial operations conducted by the Afghan military and the worldwide forces operating in the country, including the United States, accounted for six percent of all of the civilian casualties in Afghanistan previous year.

"2017 recorded the highest number of civilian casualties from suicide and complex attacks in a single year in Afghanistan", the report said, with 605 killed and 1,690 wounded from such incidents.

The majority of the victims in 2017 were killed or wounded by anti-government insurgents, according to the report.

However, Taliban said privatizing the war would be a grave mistake after reports surfaced that a private firm named Black Water offered its services to replace the USA troops with 5,500 private contractors who would train the Afghan soldiers to join them in the fight against Taliban.

In an open letter, Afghan Taliban on Wednesday offered peace negotiations to the American people and the Congressmen, asking them to press their leaders to end invasion, as President Trump's new strategy was failing to browbeat the insurgents.

More than a quarter of those were killed in deliberate militant attacks.

A US intelligence assessment submitted to a congressional committee this week anticipates the overall situation in Afghanistan will "modestly deteriorate in 2018 in the face of persistent political instability, sustained attacks by the Taliban-led insurgency".

The report quoted a family elder, who was not identified, as saying, "This was too much for just one Taliban".

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